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The ultimate limit of human endurance


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#1 NavyDiverJB

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Posted 08 June 2019 - 09:35 AM

The ultimate limit of human endurance has been worked out by scientists analysing a 3,000 mile run, the Tour de France and other elite events.

They showed the cap was 2.5 times the body's resting metabolic rate, or 4,000 calories a day for an average person.

6 Marathons a week would need a nap or two between them!
  • Marathon (just the one) runners used 15.6 times their resting metabolic rate
  • Cyclists during the 23 days of the Tour de France used 4.9 times their resting metabolic rate
  • A 95-day Antarctic trekker used 3.5 times the resting metabolic rate
and of course credit were credit is due The research, by Duke University, also showed pregnant women were endurance specialists, living at nearly the limit of what the human body can cope with.


Anything higher than that was not sustainable in the long term.

Edited by NavyDiverJB, 08 June 2019 - 09:38 AM.


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#2 Stej

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Posted 08 June 2019 - 01:20 PM

Is the idea to use the smallest amount of energy for a given amount of work (lowest metabolic rate multiple)?

#3 undercover brother

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Posted 08 June 2019 - 04:34 PM

I’ve often wondered what would happen if someone decided to run non stop forever,
How far would they get?

#4 Davo

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Posted 09 June 2019 - 08:05 AM

View PostNavyDiverJB, on 08 June 2019 - 09:35 AM, said:

The ultimate limit of human endurance has been worked out by scientists analysing a 3,000 mile run, the Tour de France and other elite events.

They showed the cap was 2.5 times the body's resting metabolic rate, or 4,000 calories a day for an average person.

6 Marathons a week would need a nap or two between them!
  • Marathon (just the one) runners used 15.6 times their resting metabolic rate
  • Cyclists during the 23 days of the Tour de France used 4.9 times their resting metabolic rate
  • A 95-day Antarctic trekker used 3.5 times the resting metabolic rate
and of course credit were credit is due The research, by Duke University, also showed pregnant women were endurance specialists, living at nearly the limit of what the human body can cope with.


Anything higher than that was not sustainable in the long term.


I question those figures, and there are too many variables anyway.
It says that marathon runners use 15.6 their RMR, while the cap is 2.5 RMR. That means that marathoners use six times their RMR during the event! Come on!  And it depends on how you run the marathon, surely. I've seen plenty of people trotting through a marathon admiring the clouds and the trees, and finishing in six hours. And Tour de France cyclists using only twice their RMR, when during that race you have to keep up with the bunch or you're eliminated - so no malingering there! Doesn't make sense to me.

#5 Davo

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Posted 09 June 2019 - 08:09 AM

View Postundercover brother, on 08 June 2019 - 04:34 PM, said:

I’ve often wondered what would happen if someone decided to run non stop forever,
How far would they get?

If you ran nonstop forever, no-one would know how far you got, because forever hasn't finished yet, has it.
But that's just playing with words.
I wonder what the furthest anyone has run non-stop: - no drinks strolls, no pit-stops, just running all the time. Interesting question.

#6 NavyDiverJB

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Posted 09 June 2019 - 01:42 PM

Not sure re data but I looked reasonably solid and scientific - One size fit for all is clearly an Average game which we all know would fits almost no one :)

Geelong man Matthew Daniels running 535 half-marathons in memory of Andrew Cadigan
Posted Image
IF we could split the data that would see Mathew using 7.8 times his RMR every day. What ever he uses its a fantastic effort! Aus Running has Mathew doing 2 Melbourne Marathons last in 2016. I wonder if the daily 1/2 marathon training effort would give him a PB this year??

If you would like to contribute https://secure.leuka...96597#&panel1-1

#7 NavyDiverJB

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Posted 09 June 2019 - 02:06 PM

This is the article including all details. It is or seems to be peer reviewed.

https://advances.sci...nt/5/6/eaaw0341