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Start Fast? How Pacing Works

Author: Sofia PC

Grade Level: 7th-9th; Type: Health Science

Objective:

Find out how much pacing matters in long-distance running.

Research Questions:

  • What causes the body to feel fatigue?
  • What is the normal breathing/heartbeat rate at rest?

Marathon runners must run much greater distances than their track-and-field counterparts, needing to start slow and speed up towards the end. This experiment will help you to discover why.

Materials:

  • Stopwatch
  • Heart rate monitor/pedometer for exercising
  • 10 or more test subjects
  • Pen and paper to record finishing times for each person as well as heart rate/steps taken

Experimental Procedure:

The Pace Test

  1. Take the heart rate of your first test subject.
  2. Have a test subject run one mile (equivalent to “x” number of laps around field of specific size; you'll have to measure) with the pedometer/heart rate monitor attached. They should run with effort, like they are in a race, but nonetheless pace themselves to the finish line, starting slow and building up speed.
  3. When they get to the finishing point, take the time it took and also their heart rate and pedometer readings. Measure their breathing rate by counting the number of times their chest or stomach rises for 30 seconds; multiply that number by 2 and you'll have the respiratory rate per minute.
  4. Do the same as above for all your other test subjects.

The Jolt Test (This should be done when your test subjects have fully recovered from the “pace test”, especially if they aren't regular athletes.)

  1. Take the heart rate of your first test subject.
  2. Have a test subject run one mile (equivalent to “x” number of laps around field of specific size; you'll have to measure) with the pedometer/heart rate monitor attached. This time, they should start off at full speed and they should try their best to keep at full speed until the finish line.
  3. When they get to the finish line, take the time it took and also their heart rate and pedometer reading. Measure their breathing rate by counting the number of times their chest or stomach rises for 30 seconds; multiply that number by 2 and you'll have the respiratory rate per minute.
  4. Do the same as above for all your other test subjects.

The above tests should be repeated twice for accuracy. Record the findings in a chart and see if there are any dramatic differences between the two tests.

Terms/Concepts: Heart Rate; Breathing Rate; Muscular Movement

References:

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