Today Wilson Kipsan (Kenya) set a new world record during the Berlin Marathon. It's time of 2h 03 min 23 sec rises the question when any time barrier of 2h will be crossed? It is possible or human being have reached the maximum?
Instead of trowing a wild guess, let's use some math. Numbers are always right (with a little assumption).
Looking at the graph we can easily notice that it's very exponential where in the last few years the improvement in the world best time is getting smaller and smaller. I suggest to look at the last 7 years results, because of the tiny improvement rate:
The time i have converted into seconds (for example: 2h05min42sec = 2x 3600+5x60+42). If we are about to make the assumption that the improvement rate of 0.202% will be maintain for the next couple of years (although it will decrease more), we are left with a simple math to find when we can reach 7200sec time (2h00min00sec).
Doing the math give us in year 2027 or 14 years from now on. Of course this will be unless some destructive innovation related to new technique of running, body cooling down, body hydration, energy consumption is not discovered.
Now the question, if
the human kind has reached the limit of the long distance running?
keep popping up in my head. I tend to be more optimistic. This is why i believe that thanks to the new technologies of the 2nd millennium, we could continue to improve. It could be tine bit by a tine bit, but still we will move forward. Evolution baby, what to do! Nothing can stop us :)
Now a bit more serious. In his book "Daniel's Running Formula" Jack Daniels use lot of scientific data gathered in the past 3-4 decades by study of top athletes. There he is able to compare the performance of each one of them thanks to VDOT number assigned to each person. With few words the VDOT is correlated to VO2 MAX of each individual. The highest ever recorded VO2 MAX in the world is 94 of a cross-country skier. Then looking back into his table comparison, to be able to run a full marathon for 2h 00 min 00 sec, this give VDOT of exactly 85.54. What this means, is that theoretically it's possible to go below 2h time barrier. Now the new question is
how the athlete will be able to have enough energy to keep the pace?
Probably a new extremely fast for assimilation carbohydrate is the key. What do you think?
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