Marathon running is one of the most brutal and unforgiving activities humans can engage in, and it has also been one of the most difficult to study, until now. Thanks to the Xsens MTw Awinda and the project “MeasuRun” by Roessingh Research and Development (RRD), marathon runners can now record their movements throughout an entire race, and then use that data to study, analyze and potentially improve.
The MeasuRun project, overseen by Jasper Reenalda and Erik Maartens, was created to investigate the effects of fatigue on the individual running technique. Three well-trained distance runners were equipped with Xsens inertial measurement sensors attached to their trunk, pelvis, upper legs, lower legs and feet. The MTw Awinda sensors wirelessly sent their data to a tablet mounted on a bicycle that accompanied the runner, which allowed data from an entire 42.2 kilometers (26.2 miles) marathon to be continuously collected for the first time.
“We’ve been able to collect data in a lab setting before, but there is a significant difference between simulating a marathon and actually running one,” said Jasper Reenalda of RRD. “The data collected should help us to better understand the mechanics of how a body endures a marathon, which in turn could help runners to stave off injuries and reach their goals more effectively.
The results of the MeasuRun project were recently published in the prestigious Journal of Biomechanics by Reenalda, Maartens, Lotte Homan, and J.H. (Jaap) Buurke).
The data collected during the marathon revealed non-uniform and significant changes in running mechanics for all three subjects. This new data opens up the possibilities for a more in-depth analysis of running mechanics than ever before.