Why Mo Farah Wont Run Fast In The Marathon
First of all, this post is posted BEFORE he will run the London Marathon 2018. But, I will predict he won't run as well as we all think, or as well as he does over the shorter distance.
Power to weight ratio is commonly talked about in sport, and for good reason. The lighter you are with the power to match it the better. That doesnt mean you become too light and have no power. There is a sweet spot.
This leads me on to power to stride ratio. The power you generate from your stride determines how fast you can run. The quickest possible time you can land and take off the better. You generate force by planting your body into the ground, and that force is returned by propelling you up/forward, depending on your direction of sport.
Now, why do I think Mo won’t be as fast over 26.2 miles in comparison to his 1500m time? Before I go on, let me talk about his 5,000 and 10,000 times. Yes, he has won a lot in a championship race, but he isn’t near the World Record in either the 5 or 10,000. So my point is, because he isn’t near those WRs then he won’t be near the Marathon WR. But thats too simplistic. Mo’s coach, Alberto Salazar, told me, if you can run faster over a shorter distance, then that will translate to running faster over a longer distance (yes, you need to do the endurance part as well).
Lets say you run 12s for 100m. Then it will be easier for you to do 25s for 200m, and easier for you to do 400 in 57s etc etc.
My main point as to why Mo will fatigue quicker over the longer distance isn’t anything to do with how fast he has ran over 1500m (3.28). It is to do with his stride and his efficiency.
To the untrained eye, Mo looks calm, floaty, almost poetic.
To the trained eye, he overstrides, his extremities crossing over his midline, his feet pointing outwards, hip drops, spine twists.
So lets look at pictures to back this up. I haven't just drawn a few red and yellow lines on him for fun.
In a marathon, you will take somewhere near 50,000 steps. Even if you had a 1% deficiency per stride. 50,000 x 1 is still an awful lot, especially at the top end of a race.
As you can see from picture 1. His point of contact with the ground is further away from the midline of his body then it should be. This means he will have to catch back up to his foot from the rest of his body.
Picture 2 shows when he is fully loaded in his stride. Look at how much he is sitting into his hip. You will know what I mean in a picture below. He is losing vertical distance. People look at the distance of a race and the distance of a stride. But very few look at vertical distance. The distance where basically jump up and down in your stride. Mo loses a substantial amount.
Look at a point in the foreground and then pick a point on Mo. Lets say his chin. Look how far he dips under the horizon from even just first point of contact to when he is fully loaded on the same foot. He loses an awful lot of vertical height.
Picture 3 is possibly the best photo to show the worst part of his stride. Look at the curvature of his spine, his left arm, and also his right foot. His left arm isn’t close to his body, which could be a result of his spine and has to compensate. Energy isn’t going in a straight line. Lets look at his foot. This placement will force him into over pronation. If he intends on wearing the 4%, then he will know all about over pronation. (I think i will do a post of this. The 4% has a horrible landing to take off transition)
Picture 4 is of him landing on his left foot. Its not as bad as his right which means that the right side is taking more energy consumption and effort. But it does show the hip tilt and again the spine curve. It also shows how his knee collapses on landing. A sign of a weak glute med, which is also backed up by the horizontal yellow line. Its dipping downwards which means basically that his pelvic drops.
So, as you can see, Mo is technically poor which will lead to a greater energy consumption. No matter how you look at it, you cant deny that over the course of 26.2 miles, he will tire quicker. Look his facial features at the later stages of the race. When he is tired, Mo does this almost upside-down frown. Seen in the picture to the left.
The final picture is one of my favourite running photos. Look an Kenenisa Bekele and his stride in comparison to Mo. Kenenisa is 5 minutes faster then Mo in the marathon but also holds the 5,000m and 10,000m World Record.. I know its slightly different as one is taking off and one is about to take off. But it still is night and day. Haile is nearly in the same stride phase as Mo yet he doesnt look as bad (apart from his foot turning outwards)
Anyway, this London Marathon has the potential to be one of the best marathons ever. And as a little footnote, if Mo runs fast then I will delete this article and pretend it never happened!