Mind not muscle key to breaking two-hour marathon barrier

As three athletes prepare to attempt a sub two-hour marathon in Milan (6-7 May), a University endurance expert has explained to CNN that their mental fitness and mind management will be just as important as their physical condition.

Professor Samuele Marcora, of the University’s School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, has studied the relationship between endurance and the mind for the past 10 years.

His research demonstrates that what is going on in the athlete’s mind is as important as what is happening in their muscles and explores how people perform when they actually train in a state of mental fatigue. It also demonstrates how learning to push through tiredness can significantly improve endurance performance.

Professor Marcora was filmed at the University’s Medway campus for CNN’s health show Vital Signs about athletes and endurance, where he explained how training the brain to be more resistant to mental fatigue may help break records in endurance sports.

The current marathon record is 2:02:57.