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Events: Athletic: Reverse Running



Reverse Running

World records in reverse running have been coming down all the time. The latest include the world record for the reverse mile at 6:27, the 800m at 2:57.39, and the 3000m at 12:48. Reverse running events under consideration for the New Zealand Fringe Games in Christchurch include all the major forwards distance events from the 100m to the 5,000m as well as 100m, 200m and 400m relays. However, only a few of these distances will be able to be included due to the number of other running style events. What these will be, and the qualifying times, will be posted soon.

Reverse running has become popular in recent years due mainly to studies which have shown it to be a great form of cross training and an effective way for runners with injured knees to maintain their fitness while they recover. In addition to receiving an excellent aerobic and anaerobic workout, running backwards is very effective in strengthening quads which are active for longer than in forward running. Calf muscles are also stretched as well as contracted as the reverse runner tends to land on the front foot first with the heel then dropping towards the ground. And, as the knee absorbs less impact, athletes who have problem knees can still exercise without pain. Proficiency in reverse running is also useful in a number of ball sports including football, basketball, netball, baseball and cricket.

Reverse running also appeals to serious athletes because of the high levels of stamina it requires. Chris Stockdale, writing in The Running Network reports research carried out by Tim Flynn of Texas Tech University in 1993 which showed "that a person walking forward at a 16 minute/mile pace will only raise his/her pulse rate to about 106 beats per minute (bpm), but when that person turns around and walks backwards at the same pace, the pulse rate soars to about 156bpm - higher than would be achieved by running forwards at a 10 minute pace. When that person runs backwards at the same 10 minute pace, the pulse will skyrocket to about 90% of maximum, around 174bpm. Oxygen consumption will also soar to approximately 84% of VO2max instead of 60% consumed during forward running at the same pace."


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