Sprinting on a curve is significantly slower than on a straightaway. Although the dimensions vary from track to track, indoor track curves are among the tightest curves that athletes will sprint at maximal speed. Previous studies have provided theories for how speed attenuation occurs when running on a curve. Yet, no previous research has determined how the variability of indoor track curve radii affects trained sprinters at maximal speeds. Purpose: To determine the differences in running speeds, ground time (GT), and medio-lateral (ML) impulse, with different indoor track radii. A secondary purpose was to understand the between-leg differences in GT and ML impulse during maximal sprinting on a curve. Methods: 10 male intercollegiate sprinters performed 45-m maximal sprints on a straightaway, 15-m track curve and 21-m track curve. A force platform embedded under an indoor track surface measured ground reaction forces while timing lights measured running speed. Analysis: A mixed models analysis of variance blocking on subjects was performed testing the main effects of the track curve on sprinting speed, GT and ML impulse (p<0.01). Results: Sprinting speed was significantly slower when running on a curve. GT increased for inside leg on both curved path conditions compared to straight. ML impulses increased as the radius of the track curve decreased. Discussion: If a 200m race were performed on both our track curves, the track with 21m curve would be 0.12s faster than the track with the 15m curve. GT and ML impulse results support leading explanations that the inside leg is the limiting factor during curve running. Tighter track curves require greater ML forces, but for a shorter period of time compared to larger track turns. Coaches and athletes should consider the radius of the track curve as they prepare for training and performance and consider injury risk. The speed differences observed due to the track curve radius may provide the first step to understanding how the radius of the indoor track curve affects sprinting speed and ultimately, performance.



College and Department

Life Sciences; Exercise Sciences



Date Submitted


Document Type





running, kinetics, biomechanics, sport