Dr. Michael Joyner has been writing about the limits of human performance for decades and back in 1991 was one of the first to analyze the possibility of a sub 2-hour marathon. On this episode of the GAINcast, Joyner breaks down recent two hour attempts, the role of technology in pushing performance forward, and what trends he sees on the horizon for endurance athletes.
Notes and quotes
Joyner is an Anesthesiologist at the Mayo Clinic. In addition, Joyner enjoys research the limits of human performance and is one of the leading commenters of sports science in endurance.
- 3:30 – The history of modeling a sub-2 performance: “The main conclusions in 1991 were that we didn’t know a lot about running economy, and we didn’t have much data on good runners. And that’s still true. “
- 9:30 – The role of technology in performance and improving efficiency: “In cycling and swimming and speed skating there has been so many things done to improve efficiency and running economy. Other than better tracks, not much has happened in running. “
- 11:30 – Analyzing the impact of new footwear: “Some analysis shows it is 4-5% benefit, but among the fastest it is more like a minute or two. I think a 5 or 6 minute for lower level athletes tends to reflects in addition to the shoes an increased commitment, more training, and better races. “
- 15:00 – The Bannister effect.
- 20:15 – Looking technological advances in other sports: “Special athletes get access to special shoes based on their sponsor. No one would bat an eye at that in cycling or car racing. “
- 22:30 – Training for swimming and replicating hill running in swimming.
- 26:00 – Resistance and assistance in track and field and freewheeling: “Learning how to freewheel, no matter how you do it (toeing, downhill, wind, etc.) forces you to break through and the nervous system to adapt. “
- 30:30 – Rethinking fartleks and intervals.
- 36:00 – Next generation training: “The Ingebrigtsens are throw backs to what we saw in the 1950s and 1960s: well-rounded athletes athletes that were physically active from an early age and specialized relatively late. They’re also doing longer intervals, longer than a threshold run.” “I wonder if we are going to see a return to longer intervals that are above the lactate threshold but are not 20x400m at 60 seconds. This will give people something they got with the trail and fartlek running.”
- 39:00 – The generic progressive 10-mile run: “We’re going to see more emphasis on interval training. Does that mean we’ll be doing intervals twice a day six days a week, I doubt it. But more varied and mid range intervals that are demanding but not exhausting.”
- 41:45 – Other interests.
To hear more about these topics you can listen to the full episode above. If you like what you hear on the GAINcast, don’t forget to give us a review and subscribe on iTunes.
The following links were referenced in the podcast or provide some additional reading material on the topic:
- The GAINcast is brought to you by GAIN and HMMR Media. Applications for GAIN are now open and you can learn more here, including links to all our past interviews with faculty members, registration information, and more.
- This month’s theme on HMMR Media is the future of training. Stay tuned for more on the topic throughout the month and join HMMR Plus so that you get full access to our video, article, and podcast archive here on HMMR Media.
- Joyner was a guest on GAINcast 59, where we discussed more about the limits of performance and also how coaches can analyze sport science research.
- You can learn more from Dr. Joyner on Twitter @DrMJoyner and on his personal blog. His research interests are also outlined here.
- For more on the sub 2 topic, you can read his original research paper on the topic, this more recent article, plus a good Runner’s World article on the topic.