Farah, the distance runner, finds himself at the opposite end of the spectrum. He's an oxygen guy, meeting most of his energy requirements from oxygen-dependent (aerobic) energy systems. In a 3000-meter race, 85% of Farah's energy needs will come from aerobic systems. The farther he runs, that percentage rises even more. Aerobic systems will never give Farah the raw horsepower of a top sprinter, but neither will his muscles tire as quickly.
The choice of 600 meters was no accident. At that distance, the ratio of anaerobic to aerobic energy requirements for both athletes will be roughly 50-50. But roughly doesn't mean exactly, and Tucker believes the midpoint is actually closer to 550 meters, or even a bit less. That gives a slight physiological advantage to Farah.
Another issue for Bolt is that he'll need to run three times farther than his typical race distance, and it's unlikely that he does many (if any) 600s in practice. More, he'll have to figure out how to ratchet down his speed by a gear or two in order to avoid blowing up entirely.
For his part, Farah will be familiar with 600 meters from his training sessions so he'll likely have a solid feel for what his body can and should do. If he's able to run fast enough - and if Bolt doesn't summon unexpected reserves of endurance (and turn sport science on its head) -- then Farah should be able to push Bolt beyond his limits.All of this anticipation may be wasted if the race never happens. It began, after all, as a little more than a schoolyard dare. However, unlike a previous challenge to Bolt from 800-meter specialist David Rudisha, Farah and Bolt share the same agent, Ricky Simms, so there's one less occasion to say, "Tell your people to call my people." In addition, both runners are longtime friends who've been involved with each other's charity foundations in the past. Finally, you have to think that Nike and Puma would move a few corporate mountains for the exposure. As for a possible date, who knows? But with the World Championships out of the way a "Mo v. Bo" race could happen soon. With two of the best, most charismatic runners on the planet going head to head, each coming to the track from opposite ends of the running spectrum, who doesn't want to see that? Follow @DrD This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.
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