Chasing 42

Life, the Universe, & Running

Running for Research

Do you ever wonder if mice are really secretly passionate runners and the wheel they run on, while being injected with various substances in the name of science, is an opportunity for them to contribute to science and enjoy it at the same time?

Yesterday, I participated in a running research study designed to assess the accuracy of a product line of comprehensive health monitors. They strapped two separate models on my arm, and I proceeded to walk & run on a treadmill, on an indoor track, and outside. It was relatively easy, and it’s always fun to learn about the specifics of the study, and what they are looking to gain from the research. The $30 I earned for doing it was a nice bonus as well.

This study was actually the second running-related research project I have been a part of while at Iowa State University. Last semester, I spent several weeks attempting to transition from a heel strike to a forefoot strike as a part of a study sponsored by Brooks Running. I went into a lab on campus several times a week, and ran on a treadmill, using a forefoot strike, while motion-capture sensors and cameras tracked my movement. It was fascinating to track the change in my running pattern, especially since I had always wanted to attempt to make this switch, having read about its benefits for trail-running. Ultimately, I was able to make the switch with a greater degree of effort, but never found it as comfortable. I have since attempted to reach a happy medium, and do include forefoot legs of my longer runs in order to work out different muscle groups. That study netted me another $30 too, by the way.

Needless to say, the academic in me loves being able to support other scholars as they pursue their research, and the fact that I get to do so while engaging in my second passion, while also getting paid, just makes for a match made in heaven. The input-driven individual that I am, I love the opportunity to learn more about my own running, as well as relevant research which may help me to improve my form and effectiveness as I train.

I may not have been injected with any experimental drugs while I was on the treadmill, but none-the-less, I love the opportunity to combine my thirst for knowledge with my thirst for distance!

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