Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt doesn’t train to run for long distances. He trains to explode out of the starting blocks with a burst of speed and run short distances.
Train to run a mile? That’s something Bolt doesn’t do.
“Usain has never run a mile,” Bolt’s agent Ricky Simms told The New Yorker.
Bolt has won six Olympic gold medals, dominating twice in the men’s 100 meters, men’s 200 meters and men’s 4×100-meter relay.
But the fastest man in the world never ran a mile? How is that possible?
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Because Bolt is a sprinter, his training is different from that of a long distance runner. Sprinters do anaerobic training, concentrating on building their explosiveness, speed and power rather than endurance. They focus on training their fast-twitch muscles, which enable them to sprint short distances. In contrast, long distance runners do aerobic training, which focuses on improving endurance and building slow-twitch muscles, which allow them to run for longer distances without tiring easily.
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Bolt’s sprint speed would not translate to a mile run. Ross Tucker, an exercise physiology professor at the University of the Free State in South Africa, said speed isn’t relative, particularly when comparing long and short distances. He told The New Yorker, “Speed over short distances does not automatically guarantee relative speed over long distances. What a 100- or 200-meter sprinter relies on is incapable of meeting his demands over a mile.”
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