Science of Marathon Running

26.2 miles of awesome human evolution.
↓ More below ↓

So maybe we can’t outrun cheetahs or antelope, but humans are uniquely adapted for long distance running. To find out why (and because I was feeling a little crazy) I decided to run a marathon!

Here’s what I discovered about the science of long distance running.

Endurance running adaptations:

For more on the science and evolution of distance running, from training plans to cellular physiology, check out Tim Noakes’ “The Lore of Running” and Christopher McDougall’s “Born to Run”


Have an idea for an episode or an amazing science question you want answered? Leave a comment below!

Follow me on Twitter: @jtotheizzoe
Email me: itsokaytobesmart AT gmail DOT com
For more awesome science, check out:

Joe Hanson – Host and writer
Joe Nicolosi – Director
Amanda Fox – Producer, Spotzen Inc.
Kate Eads – Associate Producer
Katie Graham – Director of Photography
Andrew Matthews – Editor and motion graphics
John Knudsen – Gaffer

“Ouroboros” by Kevin MacLeod

Produced by PBS Digital Studios:

Last week’s video: How The Elements Got Their Names –

More videos:
The Most Important Science Images –
Science Fiction as Science Fact –
The Science of Kissing –
The Scale of the Universe –

Check out my website for daily updated motivation and FREE WEEKLY GIVEAWAYS, YES, FREE.
Video Rating: 4 / 5

36 thoughts on “Science of Marathon Running

  1. good video. but have you ever made a video exposing the sick gangs who run
    this country (and control the gov’t)? you should expose them and the
    science behind them.

  2. Nearly everyone recites that Pheidippides died after his 26 mi. run to
    Athens. It’s important to remember he didn’t only run to Athens, but
    accumulated well over 100 mi. in two days from other missions he was tasked.

    It makes Pheidippides sound either like a wimp who can’t handle running or
    that running long distances is a serious threat to human endurance. Neither
    of which I would put money on. 

  3. This video goes to show you with a little bit of effort in pre/post
    production of a video, you can be very effective in the message you’re
    trying to convey. Most videos about this subject i turn off after about 20
    seconds because i can’t understand the person because they’re too far from
    the mic and its windy.

  4. I think Marathons should have been called Pheidippidies instead. Cause he
    is the one who ran that distance we should remember him.

  5. In a marathon, you are not battling an opponent, you are only battling

    Are you capable of beating your own mind?

  6. This video has valid science on how the body works, but to say humans
    evolved from apes because of nutrition etc. It’s funny how the theory of
    (macro) evolution never explains the origin of life or the evolution of
    the non-material – our mind, emotion & will. Where are the evidence of
    fossil records to show we evolved thru natural selection? What about our
    consciousness or our ability to reason – throw in the laws of logic/ laws
    of physics / laws of mathematics – these are not human/nature convention.
    What about our DNA/RNA/Protein & cell – one cannot evolve seperate from
    each other – they all have to be present to have life – which goes against
    the concept of macro evolution. Francis Crick – noble prize winner for his
    work on DNA – used to believe in Darwin theory of evolution, but soon
    realize it has many inherent flaws – this is why he has adopted the alien
    theory – the theory that aliens brought DNA to earth. FYI – Richard
    Dawkins believes that too. 

  7. I found this channel today and watched a hand full of videos so far, which
    i liked, but watching this one i have 2… complaints or so, that would be
    really easy to fix.

    1. weight is not the same as force, so you can not say a force eight times
    our bodyweight and especially you can’t tell me how much force it is by
    using pounds.
    With this we come to the more important issue:
    2. Please use SI units… there is (not) really only one Nation, that uses
    the Imperial system and this is the world wide web, so you might consider
    adding SI units in text form or even do it the other way round.
    Pretty please?

    Pardon my imperfect english and DFTBA

  8. I find it funny that there are 479 comments over a video about distance
    running. Over all I enjoyed this video and continue running. 

  9. this was cool. succinct, to the point, real, and if you’re a runner, easy
    to relate to. time for me to go run now. who else is out there being
    healthy? 🙂 I’ve got another half in 3 weeks, and my 1st full in a month.
    time to hit the road! #run #runner #health #exercise #training #halfmarathon
    #marathon #losangeles #rocktherun 

  10. Wonderful message! This was me today, and you have to say to yourself to
    get out there and get it done. It might change and turn into an awesome run
    or it might be a bad run the entire way through. Just go out there and see
    for yourself instead of speculating what it could be like inside your head.
    Experience it – the good and bad.

  11. Man! Big thx for that video. Since i was look this video, I try? and try
    again and again to wake up in 5:10 and go to running before my work=)
    I buy sneakers and want buy jacket for more coldy weather.

    Greetings from Russia!

  12. for everyone who complains about not eating anything before you run
    1. it can be a beneficial practice
    2. EAT THE NIGHT BEFORE it serves the same purpose and it’s already
    digested. many people do this method with great results.

  13. Am I the only one who thought “OMG, he didn’t double-lace his shoes?” And
    I’m more of an evening runner, but thanks for reminding me stop making

  14. every damn day because an excuse will hurt more than the pain your body
    goes through. Keep it up and thanks for the video. 

  15. It’s a very nice video, but i don’t think it’s very motivational. The
    beginning was excellent, but ending was kind of plain. Something was
    missing to make it motivational. Maybe the struggle or the result of his

  16. Do you like the adidas boost? For me it caused too much achilles stress…i
    changed the insoles and it helped alittle…i think the forfoot drop is too

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.