The Science of Marathon Running

I ran one… FOR SCIENCE!

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So maybe we can’t outrun cheetahs or antelope, but humans are uniquely adapted for long distance running. What does science have to say about marathon running? To find out, (and because I was feeling a little crazy) I decided to run one!

Here’s what I discovered about the science of long distance running
Endurance running adaptations:

For more on the science and evolution of distance running, from training plans to cellular physiology, check out Tim Noakes’ “The Lore of Running” and Christopher McDougall’s “Born to Run”

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Amanda Fox – Producer, Spotzen IncKate Eads – Associate Producer
Katie Graham – Director of Photography
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John Knudsen – Gaffer

“Ouroboros” by Kevin MacLeod

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25 thoughts on “The Science of Marathon Running”

  1. Support Tommy Rivers and his family at this rough time:

  2. I'm pretty sure the 26.2 miles was standardized later and we don't actually know the exact distance that was run in the original Marathon field.

  3. Wow, he broke 4 hours. That is great for his first marathon. I watched his baseball video about hitting a major-league fastball. He is a much better runner than he is a hitter.

  4. runners cannot tap on their fat reserves? Well to be fair there is i think not much fat to burn in their body anyway.

    Because that is how our body works, we tap to our fats once carbs are gone, fats could be converted to glycogen, does "carb loading" exist during our ancestor hunter gatherer time?

  5. I love how these youtubers make it seem that they decided to run a marathon out of the blue and then ran an incredible time. But what they don't tell you is that they have been running for years and are super fit.

  6. There is no historical account of Pheidippides dying after his run. That's a story that developed later. If we're doing science, we should get our historical facts straight.

    In fact, there isn't even a historical account of the man running from the battle to Athens. The only account of Pheidippides run is to Sparta from Athens, a much farther, staged, journey of 280 miles. And no death from exhaustion there either.

    Any message from the battle site at Marathon to Athens was likely sent by horseback since there was a good road there. Runners were used for paths difficult to navigate on horseback.

    So, perpetuating this myth continues to encourage people to think these are near insurmountable distances. They aren't. Any well-trained individual can accomplish this feat and many run much farther. It is difficult but it will not kill you unless you are in very poor health or have extenuating circumstances. A Greek messenger, accustomed to running, would have had no problem running this distance.

  7. The actual distance from Marathon to Athens is closer to 25 miles. The marathon distance was lengthened to 26.2 miles in the 1908 London Olympics so the Queen and spectators could witness the finish inside a stadium.

  8. You could become fat adapted (eating human apropriet diet – google Brian Sanders – Food Lies) and then would not need carbs as much…

  9. As I train for a half that I'm not even sure will happen, I was finding it hard to get out there today. I come to YouTube for motivation in times like these and this did the trick today, so thanks for your story.


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