via SportTechie : Sports Science Helps Nike Set Out To Break The Two-Hour Marathon Time Barrier
Anyone who has run a marathon knows just how difficult and painful it can be to complete. By the end of the 26.2 miles, athletes’ feet are aching, their legs are tired and it is often only adrenaline that pushes them through to the finish line. Running a marathon in any amount of time is challenging and takes intense training.
Running a marathon is less than two hours is nearly impossible. It has never been done. But Nike is working to help athletes do it.
Nike recently launched Breaking 2, an initiative to try to help specific athletes break the two-hour barrier. All the athletes involved in the project are elite distant runners. Nike’s science team tested these runners’ capacity for exercise, how much energy each athlete expends when running a kilometer at any given speed and the speeds that a runner can sustain for any given time.
Next, the science team worked with athletes and coaches at the Nike World Headquarters in Oregon in order to better understand each athlete’s training regimen. They gave athletes heart rate monitors and watches so that they could track their training. In the next phase, the team went with athletes to their homes in Kenya, Ethiopia and Spain to gather more data for the project.
It seems as though the Breaking 2 science is working. Earlier this month, 32-year-old Eliud Kipchoge ran a 2 hour and 25 second marathon in Monza, Italy.
But not everyone sees Breaking 2 as a good thing. In an article in the New York Times, some critics of the method are saying that is is a publicity stunt for Nike to sell shoes. That may be so, but one thing is for certain: using the method that Breaking 2 is pushing — even though it didn’t count as an official world record — Kipchoge ran the fastest marathon ever.