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Running Design Laboratory
This laboratory researches various aspects pertaining to long-distance races. Particularly in recent years, ekiden (a term in Japanese referring to a long-distance relay running race conducted on roads) within university sports, such as the Hakone Ekiden, have been gaining popularity with each year, and this has become a type of social phenomenon. While matters such as these are considered, research on the act of running will be conducted as an integrated domain of various academic aspects ranging from the desirable state and social significance of ekiden and long-distance races within university sports, to training methods and performance enhancement techniques and programs incorporating the use and application of IT as well as medical science and physiology. To promote practical research the laboratory will collaborate with the long-distance strengthening project of the Track and Field Club, Keio University Athletics Association which will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2017.
A wide range and vast amount of research has been conducted on university ekiden from the perspective of training and exercise physiology such as case studies on conditioning. This research shows that there is no significant difference between each school's scheduling and training for university ekiden and it can be said that all universities are similar to one another. Ekiden is a team sport, and it is reported that "personal abilities are important to winning an ekiden, but teamwork is even more important". However, previous research on university ekiden has mostly focused on individual athletes, and no research that focuses on teams can be found. It is pointed out that "to evaluate the strength of a team in team sports, it is essential to evaluate both the teamwork and technical ability of each individual member". To understand the factors of a team's strength, there is a need to conduct research on teamwork, or in other words, group functions. Group functions are appropriate actions needed in a team to accomplish goals and grow. Understanding individual actions within the team, and understanding the process of, and the effect any changes to these actions have on the entire team is also needed for effective coaching. Just as the reality of the coaching process is expressed as "the 'muddiness' of the realities of the coaching process", various factors mutually come into play when coaching, and coaching is affected by complicated influences. Amid that kind of reality, coaches are preforming "structured improvisation". There is a statement of "Coaches promote the 4Cs of athletes by consistently making full use of expert, interpersonal, and intrapersonal knowledge, and by effectively utilizing knowledge in particular coaching contexts. That is effective coaching". It is important to understand each phenomenon when coaching to promote structuring for effective coaching through improved improvisation while arranging experiences and learning from past examples to understand what is occurring amidst an environment where the same phenomenon never happens twice. However, no research is being conducted on the 1-year process taken by teams that have entered into university ekiden until now. In addition to grasping the condition of individual athletes, comprehensively understanding what happened during the University ekiden race, taking account of both regular athletes and the members who supported those athletes, can be a learning opportunity for conducting effective coaching. Therefore, to conduct team building in university ekiden, it can be said that understanding and researching team processes is also important to conducting effective coaching.
Aside from practical research such as this, this laboratory will aim to examine the ekiden boom that has intensified in recent years, and its relationship with marathon competitions, as well as overall running designs, including the ideal state of long-distance races and ekiden competitions as university sports.
Outline of Research Activity Plan