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What is the best track surface?

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  • #16
    I could be wrong, but in this instance, I think not... The hardness of a surface, and the "rebound" characteristics are different. My direct knowledge on this subject is only a few years old, but I haven't read or heard anything new. I still believe that the ability of a surface to rebound, proportionate to the force being applied, and within an optimal time frame, are the defining characteristics, as compared to a maximal hardness... Do you have information or opinion that is contrary? I would love to hear it....

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    • #17
      Re: track surface

      Originally posted by track_expert
      I wouldnt look too much into who makes what.
      Looking at different tracks you want to know the hardness numbers.
      The lower the number- the harder the surface and thus the faster the surface returns from compression. A soft track may well continue to return its energy after the sprinter's foot has already left the ground, reducing the power. The standard for the IAAF was to have tracks running between 28 (hardest) to 80 (softest) back in the 80s .

      In a Seoul in 88, it was about 32 I believe.
      In Tokyo they went above and beyond and had a track with a hardness level of 13. 6 men broke 10 seconds in the final (famous carl lewis race).

      Now 5 years later... the Atlanta track in 1996 had a hardness level of 11, and results there show for themselves.

      Beijing last year was also at a hardness level of 11 and of course.. all know what happened there.
      As someone who knows nothing about this subject (ie: not an expert), what kinds of differences are we talking about? 0.05/100m or something like that?

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      • #18
        Re: track surface

        Originally posted by nbonaddio
        Originally posted by track_expert
        I wouldnt look too much into who makes what.
        Looking at different tracks you want to know the hardness numbers.
        The lower the number- the harder the surface and thus the faster the surface returns from compression. A soft track may well continue to return its energy after the sprinter's foot has already left the ground, reducing the power. The standard for the IAAF was to have tracks running between 28 (hardest) to 80 (softest) back in the 80s .

        In a Seoul in 88, it was about 32 I believe.
        In Tokyo they went above and beyond and had a track with a hardness level of 13. 6 men broke 10 seconds in the final (famous carl lewis race).

        Now 5 years later... the Atlanta track in 1996 had a hardness level of 11, and results there show for themselves.

        Beijing last year was also at a hardness level of 11 and of course.. all know what happened there.
        As someone who knows nothing about this subject (ie: not an expert), what kinds of differences are we talking about? 0.05/100m or something like that?
        0.05 up to 30-40m.

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        • #19
          i wish american tracks were like the european ones more often. so colorful.

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          • #20
            I'd personally want the softer tracks for training purposes and let your athletes run their PB's at other meets.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Mikewats
              I'd personally want the softer tracks for training purposes and let your athletes run their PB's at other meets.
              For training you could (and should anyway) do the entire GPP on grass including initial speed work, then move onto a soft track and then a hard track.

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              • #22
                Flat beach, barefoot.
                phsstt!

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by SQUACKEE
                  Flat beach, barefoot.
                  Sand is generally too soft, wouldnt use it much.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by track_expert
                    Originally posted by SQUACKEE
                    Flat beach, barefoot.
                    Sand is generally too soft, wouldnt use it much.
                    If you run where its wet its fairly firm.
                    phsstt!

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                    • #25
                      Re: track surface

                      Originally posted by track_expert
                      I wouldnt look too much into who makes what.
                      Looking at different tracks you want to know the hardness numbers.
                      The lower the number- the harder the surface and thus the faster the surface returns from compression. A soft track may well continue to return its energy after the sprinter's foot has already left the ground, reducing the power. The standard for the IAAF was to have tracks running between 28 (hardest) to 80 (softest) back in the 80s .

                      In a Seoul in 88, it was about 32 I believe.
                      In Tokyo they went above and beyond and had a track with a hardness level of 13. 6 men broke 10 seconds in the final (famous carl lewis race).

                      Now 5 years later... the Atlanta track in 1996 had a hardness level of 11, and results there show for themselves.

                      Beijing last year was also at a hardness level of 11 and of course.. all know what happened there.
                      It was very interesting to compare the difference in the track surfaces in 1996 between the stadium track and the warm-up track a half mile away which was much softer. I'd be curious to find out what the ratings for the hardness level at the warm-up track was.

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                      • #26
                        Re: track surface

                        Originally posted by Halfmiler2
                        Originally posted by track_expert
                        I wouldnt look too much into who makes what.
                        Looking at different tracks you want to know the hardness numbers.
                        The lower the number- the harder the surface and thus the faster the surface returns from compression. A soft track may well continue to return its energy after the sprinter's foot has already left the ground, reducing the power. The standard for the IAAF was to have tracks running between 28 (hardest) to 80 (softest) back in the 80s .

                        In a Seoul in 88, it was about 32 I believe.
                        In Tokyo they went above and beyond and had a track with a hardness level of 13. 6 men broke 10 seconds in the final (famous carl lewis race).

                        Now 5 years later... the Atlanta track in 1996 had a hardness level of 11, and results there show for themselves.

                        Beijing last year was also at a hardness level of 11 and of course.. all know what happened there.
                        It was very interesting to compare the difference in the track surfaces in 1996 between the stadium track and the warm-up track a half mile away which was much softer. I'd be curious to find out what the ratings for the hardness level at the warm-up track was.
                        Warming up on a softer track COULD have some benefit whe you come over to the super hard rubber track. There was someone at the world youths who warmed up in the softer spikes and switched over to his regular spikes for the race. Similar to the soft surface training phenomenon (tendon stiffness) and then recieving the benefit (however much there is) on the harder track. We are talking about just 0.02-0.03 here btw...

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                        • #27
                          Just found out from Chris Fuller at Tennessee that the surface of Tom Black Track is Rekortan. So I've gone back and adjusted my first post.

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