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Digital Subscriptions > Men's Running > Sep-17 > THE SCIENCE OF SUB-2

THE SCIENCE OF SUB-2

The effort to beat running’s most seemingly impossible barrier involves optimising everything from biomechanics and coaching to course design and nutrition. MR presents 26.2 things we can learn from Nike’s recent attempt to go sub-2

1 FIND A FLAT COURSE

Constant ups and downs are bad for efficiency – hence the ultra-flat Monza track. The IAAF allows a net decrease in elevation of 42 metres over your run – just in case you’re a stickler – but that’s tough to find on the UK circuit. The ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon is the UK’s flattest, with wide, congestion-free roads as a bonus.

2 MINIMISE YOUR TURNS

The Monza track, of course, had two gentle curves per lap, but it’s the abrupt corners that do damage: Berlin, where records consistently fall, has a mere 17 turns sharper than 90°, while New York has a brutal 26. London isn’t bad with 19, and Dubai has a mere four including a brace of hairpins.

3 KEEP YOUR COOL

On Breaking2 day, the temperatures at Monza were almost exactly what the Nike scientific team were hoping for – starting at 11°C and climbing to 12° by the finish. That’s warm for most people: according to French research on almost two million runners over a decade, a race-day temp of about 8° produced the fastest times for mid-packers. You’re unlikely to cope with the heat as well as a Kenyan.– head for Brighton, where 8° is the average temp on marathon day (except this year!)

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About Men's Running

Nothing ventured, nothing gained. A phrase, I’m sure, that can be applied to you and your running journey. At some point – many years ago or perhaps very recently – you decided to lace up your trainers for the very first time, step foot out the door, and go for a run. Whether it was for a school sports day, a New Year’s resolution or simple curiosity, you stepped out of your comfort zone and, presumably, liked what you discovered. This issue is all about pushing boundaries and stepping out – like that very first run – into the unknown. For Adharanand Finn, author of Running with the Kenyans, that meant a trip to California for his first ever ultramarathon: the Miwok 100K. Head to page 42 to find out how steel cups and flat Coke fit into his lessons learned from going ultra. At the sharper end of the field, the pros, too, have been attempting to step (really, really quickly) into the unknown – specifically, by trying to run a marathon in a frankly ridiculous sub-two-hour time. Nike’s recent, high-profile Breaking2 attempt saw Eliud Kipchoge fall agonisingly short with a time of 2:00:25, but what can we mortal runners learn from the event? Turn to page 48 to see how you, too, can maximise performance by echoing the project’s meticulous attention to detail – if not the millions of pounds of funding. Of course, inspiring stories, cutting-edge kit, training tips and nutrition advice also feature, in an issue made with motivation in mind.
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