Modern Day Hercules: Sporting Heroes – Case Study 1: Mo Farah

For many of our readers, thinking back to the stories of old, before Creatine or Muscle Fuel Anabolic, makes today’s feats of fitness and strength seem feeble in comparison.

Next to the labours of Hercules for example, whether capturing Cerberus, the three-headed dog, or wrestling the feared giant boar that laid waste to multiple towns and villages, completing a measly marathon doesn’t seem like much of an achievement.

Our contemporary champions, however, are more often than not the fittest and most skilled contestants that their specialist sporting disciplines have ever seen. World records in all areas of physical exercise are being broken each year – and this is likely to continue.

We’ve decided to start a new blog series in which we examine some of the world’s greatest modern sporting heroes. We’ll look into their achievements, ambitions and training regimes and hope to take away some tips.

No matter what your personal fitness goals are or your areas of interest, we can all learn something from this collection of winners. At the very least, they should motivate and inspire you.

Mo Farah

Mo Farah was arguably the standout British star of the London Olympics in 2012.

Described by British long-distance running champion, Brendan Foster, as the greatest British athlete of all time, lets take a quick look at Mo’s background and some of his achievements:

Nationality: British

Born: Somalia, Africa

Date of birth: 23 January 1983

Specialty: Long-distance running

Greatest sporting achievements

– Crowned European Cross-Country Running Champion (Italy, 2006)

– Crowned European Athletics Indoor Champion (Turin, 2009) (Edinburgh, 2011)

– Broke the European 5,000m indoor record with a time of 13:10:60 (Birmingham, 2011)

– Achieved new British record when winning the NYC half marathon (New York, 2011)

– Won Great Britain’s first Olympic gold in the 10,000m (London, 2012)

– Won Olympic gold in the 5,000m, making a long-distance double (London, 2012)

– Broke European 1,500m record with a time of 3:28:81 (Monaco, 2013)

– Won 10,000m Word Championships – his 4th global title! (Moscow, 2013)

– Won gold in 5,000m European Athletics Championships (Zurich, 2014)

– Won gold in 10,000m European Athletics Championships (Zurich, 2014)

As we can see, he’s an athletic titan! An inspiration, and not only for his famous ‘Mobot’ victory pose.

Mobot

Let’s see what we can learn about his training regime.

Alberto Salazar, Mo’s long-term coach, shared the runner’s weekly training schedule on social media with the accompanying caption:

For anyone who claims running isn’t hard and is not a sport, take a look at Olympian Mo Farah’s weekly schedule.

FarahTraining

10x 200m hill sprints? Hardly a piece of cake…

An interview with him during the Olympic build up reveals some of the more left-field training techniques he employed. While these may not be accessible to most, they do hammer home the importance of dedication and commitment:

– Mo often spends a week (or more) at a time in the mountains near his home in Oregon for high-altitude training.

– Failing to meet planned time targets during training sessions results in medical examinations to test for viral infections and other health issues.

– He uses an underwater treadmill as it allows him to run longer distances due to the water supporting his joints.

– When he’s staying in low-altitude locations (such as London) he sleeps in an altitude tent (a sealed tent with lower oxygen, to encourage the production of more red blood cells).

In this same interview, Mo reveals that his ultimate tip for aspiring runners is:

Because balance is perhaps the most important factor when running long distance, drink water before and after the run is complete. Carrying a water bottle puts unnecessary pressure on one side of the body.

While we may not be able to replicate his achievements, whether winning gold in 10,000m or beating the Cube in the popular TV game show, we can all certainly take inspiration from his success, motivation and determination.

Who is your athletic inspiration? Let us know in the comments below.

Photos from Facebook.

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