Sports Science  // Posts categorised as Sports Science

The pursuit of the sub-2 marathon: Where to next?

Where do we go next? Now that Eliud Kipchoge has taken us to the brink of a sub-2 hour marathon, have the boundaries of human endurance been recalibrated? Can we expect a 1:59 soon? Or did the Nike staged event simply move some of the boundaries aside? This piece looks at potential benefits, and asks whether we should expect to see a speeding up, or a slowing down, in the foreseeable future?

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Eliud Kipchoge 2:00:25

Eliud Kipchoge has run a marathon in 2:00:25, coming within sight of breaking the 2-hour barrier. How did he do it, and what might we expect in future? This post analyzes the splits, the tactics and the prospects for the 1:59:59 in the future.

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On the recalibration of world records: Brief thoughts

A proposal to recalibrate the track and field world records by removing all records set prior to 2005 has caused considerable controversy. I offer some views on the proposal, and explain why the step is probably necessary, but should not be 'abused' as a sign of a new generation.

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The sub-2 hour marathon attempt: The pacing strategy

The Nike-Breaking 2 attempt will happen in Monza this weekend. I don't think a sub-2 is possible, but what will be fascinating is to see a) how they go about pacing the attempt, and what happens if it starts to fall away; and b) what the collective advantage is of all the tactics employed. I predict 2:01:55 at best, a DNF is also a real possibility. More thoughts here.

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The way, then the lack of will: A story of anti-doping and those who might save it

The history of antidoping can be divided into two overlapping phases. There was once a huge lack of a "way" - inadequate tools to catch doping, leaving antidoping two steps behind the cheats. Advances in science have narrowed this, creating a better "way". This has exposed a bigger problem - a lack of "will". This article describes this, and offers a conceptual solution.

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On the Jamaican clenbuterol positives: A procedural failure and credibility black hole

An explosive new investigative report has revealed that numerous athletes have tested positive when their samples from Beijing 2008 were retested. They include Jamaican male sprinters, so dominant in those Games. The IOC and WADA however did not act, suggesting the cases are all contamination, not worthy of pursuing. How viable is this, and what does it mean for already bottomed-out anti-doping credibility?

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Sports science, marginal gains and common sense

Bradley Wiggins called marginal gains "a load of rubbish" recently, and while his thoughts were poorly crafted and tainted by the context, it triggered an impassioned defence of the philosophy by Matthew Syed. I've always thought the concept trivialized sports science, and was arrogantly dismissive of the realities that there's really nothing unique about it. As a source of competitive advantage in elite sport, it cannot stand. More on that in this piece.

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A thought crossed my mind: Knowledge & confidence, and “feeblemindedness”

Around 100 years ago, the world's leading scientists got together to discuss "eugenics", the idea that we could selectively breed "good stock" for the benefit of the human race. This happened openly, with the support of the USA's judicial system, and looks macabre and horrific in hindsight. It made me wonder about over-confidence, and knowledge, and how experts shouldn't ever profess absolute certainty, on anything.

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Ban the Nike Vaporfly & other carbon fiber devices for future performance credibility

Nike recently unveiled the Vaporfly Elite, the shoe it has been working on to help it break the 2-hour marathon barrier. The shoe incorporates a "spring plate", and is claimed to have significant performance implications. I think the shoe, and the incorporation of spring-like devices in all shoes, should be banned for future credibility of performance. Here's why

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