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 Indoor vs. Outdoor Records
Rickshaw
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Indoor vs. Outdoor Records Posted: Tue Feb 01, 2005 2:09 pm 

I've noticed that most medium-distance running events keep track of separate indoor and outdoor records. Does anyone know what the reasoning behind this is? At first I thought it was because of the still air and controlled temperature indoors, meaning runners could be faster indoors than out. But actually indoor times are slower from what I've seen, so I'm guessing it's because of the size of the track: 400m/lap for outdoor tracks, and normally 200m/lap for indoor tracks.

If it's the size of the track that actually matters, though, why not call it that? What would happen if somebody put a 400m track inside a giant enclosed building? Would records set there count as indoor records?

Is the a record for a mile run on a horse track or something that was 1 mile per lap? Or in a straight line, with no track at all?


OldManRunner
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
Rochester, NY
Joined: 28 Nov 2004
Posts: 262

Re: Indoor vs. Outdoor Records Posted: Tue Feb 01, 2005 2:26 pm 

Hmm, good question, since there are certainly variations in the length of indoor tracks, so if it's just a track diameter issue then they ought to keep records for the different track diameters rather than just indoor vs. outdoor. I've always known that outdoor records tended to be faster than indoor, but I never really thought about why. Maybe it's all the fresh air...?

Bricks
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
Chicago
Joined: 09 Dec 2004
Posts: 222

Re: Indoor vs. Outdoor Records Posted: Tue Feb 01, 2005 2:28 pm 

i think it's a number of factors beyond climate control. aren't some of the indoor surfaces 'bouncy'? I also know many of the indoor tracks' curves are banked/sloped. I'm sure you have to slow turning that many more times. I'm curious if indoor times are faster for sprints and slower for distance or something like that...

Rickshaw
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Re: Indoor vs. Outdoor Records Posted: Tue Feb 01, 2005 2:39 pm 

That's true. I think both the bouncy surface and the banked turns enable you to run faster. Maybe somebody should build a 1 mile oval indoors (okay, you'd need a giant building for this) using indoor track materials with the bouncy surface and slightly sloped turns. I bet you'd see new mile world records.

OldManRunner
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
Rochester, NY
Joined: 28 Nov 2004
Posts: 262

Re: Indoor vs. Outdoor Records Posted: Tue Feb 01, 2005 2:46 pm 

They could just put the tracks in the supercollider tunnels at large universities!

Minnow


Joined: 20 Jan 2005
Posts: 19

Re: Indoor vs. Outdoor Records Posted: Tue Feb 01, 2005 4:50 pm 

Indoor times are slower than outdoor times due to the size of the track - i.e. usually 200m. The problem arises on the bends. Because the track is so narrow, the bends are made more acute. This is why the bends are sloped, much in the same way as stock car tracks or bicycle velodrome tracks are. I have heard from people that it is really hard to stay in your lane on an indoor track running at a high velocity, because you tend to move outwards as you come around the corner. Also, the taller athletes find it harder to negotiate the bends. As for sprinting, the straights are not 100m long, so the world indoor records are run over 50m or 60m. If you want to have a look at the world indoor / outdoor records go to http://www.iaaf.org/statistics/records/index.html

mfox

South Orange, New Jersey
Joined: 19 Dec 2004
Posts: 367

Re: Indoor vs. Outdoor Records Posted: Fri Feb 04, 2005 9:03 pm 

But don't outdoor records also include road races. So a 5K track indoor record could be different from a 5K outdoor record because the outdoor record could have been run on a track OR on a road. Or do they keep outdoor records further separated by whether it was run on a track and road (I don't recall)?

Bricks
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
Chicago
Joined: 09 Dec 2004
Posts: 222

Re: Indoor vs. Outdoor Records Posted: Sat Feb 05, 2005 10:10 am 

i think by nature, the track times would just always be faster, say in the 5000 meters or 1000 meters, so road races tend to fall into the 'course record' category untill you get up to 1/2 and full marathons, but i'm not sure either...

Rickshaw
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Re: Indoor vs. Outdoor Records Posted: Sat Feb 05, 2005 9:42 pm 

Yeah, I think the road times don't count as "real" records because they might be elevation changes, winds, or other factors that affect the times. A big, flat track is probably the optimum environment for running fast without gaining any unfair advantage from winds or gravity. I would guess the absolute best would be an indoor track built so big that the whole race was only 1 lap. But that would be huge.

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