A few years ago, Eliud Kipchoge could not break the 2 hour barrier on a marathon.  Then a month ago, he suddenly did.  What changed?  How did this impact me?  Here’s my story.

In this episode, I talk about:

  • Nike and their Breaking2 documentary
  • What helped Eliud break the 2 hour barrier
  • How did that impact me?


Good morning everyone. Welcome to the Path to 1 Million. This is going to be episode 162. This is in continuation of my experience with running a 5k sub 30 minute 5k this weekend. I want to talk to you a little bit about what was happening. At least for me mentally Saturday night, maybe about five or six years ago, Nike brought together this team of the best biomechanical engineers, the best nutritionists, the best coaches, the best trainers, and then their whole, their whole challenge was “Can a human being run a sub two hour marathon?” That was their whole goal. And so this team of people, they recruited the top three runners in the world at the top three guys. All of them are from Kenya, that, which is not surprising, but they recruited all these top three runners from the world.

One of them being Eliud Kipchoge. And I, I think I pronounced his name correctly. I never hear it pronounced the same way twice, but they brought these three guys together to see if it was possible for a human being to run a sub two hour marathon. So they analyzed everything about these guys, their nutrition, their sleep patterns, how their bodies burned oxygen, their running technique, running style. They got them the best equipment, the best shoes. They got ’em the best clothes. They figured out what was the optimal temperature for these guys to run in, what is the optimal humidity? They went out and they found the world’s flattest racetrack for these guys to run a marathon on. So they removed elevation from the equation. They just wanted to see at their top speed could they break the two hour barrier.

So the documentary ends where they get to the end and all three of these guys are running together in this race. They’ve got these other there’s other runners that are on the track and the other runners actually form a circle around them and their whole goal is to break up the wind so they can actually run faster. And then they rotate out these runners every few miles. So that way there’s always fresh runners around these three guys. So as the race finishes not surprising. Nobody broke the two hour barrier. Right? Eliud finished the race, he was the first one to actually finish it, but he finished it in two hours and 23 seconds. And one of the engineers on there, he made an interesting comment, he said, you know, if he ran one second faster for every mile, then he would have broken the two hour barrier.

And of course Eliud was super disappointed that he did not do it. Of course everybody is celebrating because nobody had ever run 26.2 miles this fast before. Which is true. I mean it is, it is a big accomplishment. But he didn’t break that barrier. Now you fast forward and about a month ago, six weeks ago, in that timeframe, another company stepped forward, I think. I think you pronounced that I N E O S is the name of the company. They sponsored a similar event and they got Eliud, cause he’s like the world’s fastest runner, they got him together. They did the same thing. They brought together all these nutritionists, they brought together all these trainers, they brought together all of these you know, they, they found a great track for him to run on and they timed him. And for the first time ever a human being finally ran a sub two hour marathon. He finished it one hour, 59 minutes and 40 seconds.

So basically he ran one race to the other, he ran it 40 seconds faster, all in all. And I was really starting to think to myself, because you know, his running style really hasn’t changed. You know, he had top experts before and he didn’t make it, but now he is taught by experts and now he did make it. And I started like thinking like, you know What in the world was different? And the only thing that I could really come up with, cause there’s all kinds of YouTube videos out there about how he won this. But nobody ever really answers the question. And I really do believe in my heart of hearts that it had to do with this: the brain, the mind, I think before when he ran it, he wasn’t even sure himself If somebody could break the two hour barrier. He has been floating at around two hours and one minute, two hour and two minutes, two hour and three minutes when he would do his marathon runs.

But I don’t even think he was sure that he could break that two hour barrier. And when he finished that first race, and I’m sure that somebody communicated to him that if you’d just run one second faster, that he could have broken that two hour barrier. I think at that point in time he actually realized that it was possible. He actually believed that he could do it. And I think that was the big difference between his first run and his second run. Cause in the second run, he already mentally knew that he could do it. He already knew that he could shave off one second for every mile that he was running. And not only did he shave off one second, he shaved up about 1.5 seconds off of every mile. So I’m thinking about this on Saturday night and about how it’s all mental and how it’s all a mind game.

And it occurred to me that something similar happened with me with my 25 by 5k challenge is because you know, my legs were hurting and my knees were hurting and I was looking at this new running technique or you know, is there a proper running technique? And I found it on these videos and I started practicing, but when I finished on Friday, the one thing that I never thought I would able ever be able to do during this 25 by 5k challenge was break the 30 minute barrier. Because keep in mind two months before then I was sitting on a couch every day like eating Cheetos and root beer floats and everything else like that. But now all of a sudden I’m out there running and it seemed possible that I could break that 30 minute barrier. Because it all sudden became possible, I mean I saw it and I was like, Holy cow, I can do this.

That shifted my brain. This shifted my thinking. So when I got out there yesterday morning and I got out there on the track, what was funny is yesterday when I got out of bed, I usually sit down and I read for like the first half an hour or hour of the day. I couldn’t even read. My brain was so focused on running, my brain was so focused on the race and I was already mentally crossing the 3.1 mark, the 5kilometer mark. And because I was already there, I, I couldn’t even read. I finally had to put the book down. I was just so amped. I was just so excited because I already knew that I beat it in my heart. And then I go down there and I run it. And you know, when I got down there and I remember I hit the timer on the phone for a 29 minutes and 30 seconds.

So that was like my 30 second warning that my time was almost up. I hit the timer for the Nike app to start tracking my distance and my time and then I hit the play button on my music, slid my phone into my pocket and I, it has been a long time since I have been that focused on a particular goal. And truth be told, I can’t even remember, probably maybe 60 or 70% of the 5k run that I did. Cause I was just so focused on the fact that I had to beat that time. You know, I had to prove myself correctly. So when I finally did break the, crossed the three mile marker there and my alarm still hadn’t gone off course I had this surge of energy, like it wouldn’t believe like I’m actually going to conquer this. I’m actually going to make this happen.

What I envisioned last night has now become a reality. And I just remember that it was all because of this all because of a mind game. Everything, truth be told, I still should have ran, you know, my 5k and 33 minutes, 34 minutes, 35 minutes was what I had been doing. But yesterday, running it under 30 minutes just made me feel so good and absolutely so confident. And like I wrote before on Facebook last night, obviously I’m going to run this again cause I really do want to hang in that 29 minute banner on that sign. But you know what, if I did it once, I could do it again. You know? And that just, that just fills me with such excitement. I was in such a euphoric state yesterday. It was unreal. I could barely, barely contain myself. So anyways, I just wanted to share that story with you guys today. I hope you guys are doing really well on this Monday morning. I hope you guys have a fantastic week. Make it a fantastic week and I will see you again tomorrow. Have a good day.