World Championships: Mo Farah faces fight to achieve his historic 'double double'

Briton makes distance running look easy but even he will struggle to emulate Kenenisa Bekele

the Luzhniki Stadium

It is generally assumed that the double double is a dead certainty, that tonight Mo Farah will win the 5,000m to add to his two Olympic gold medals last summer and his 10,000m win here last Saturday.

We could all be forgiven for thinking that. After all, this season Farah has won virtually every race he has turned up for. In short, he has made the punishing nature of long-distance running look anything but.

But that is far from the reality. His body will be hurting from that 10,000m final and the subsequent 5,000m heat. Plus it's worth bearing in mind that his main rivals, such as the Ethiopian pair of Hagos Gebrhiwet and Yenew Alamirew, will be noticeably fresher as Farah and his training partner Galen Rupp are the only two athletes to be doubling up.

So big an ask is it that Sebastian Coe said it would make him the greatest British athlete of all time if he achieved it. So, how likely is it that he will win? According to Barry Fudge, the head of sports science at UK Athletics, not very. "If Mo wins a medal on Friday night he's going against the odds basically," explained Fudge. "It is a long shot when you're doing that [doubling up]. You don't really know what's going to happen.

"You don't know how your body's going to respond," he added. "You do all the training, all the prep, we do everything in and around the champs, but the human body is one of these things; you just hope that it's going to be all right."

It was the same at London 2012. With the 10,000m gold already in the bag, the focus for a week was solely on getting him recovered to be in contention to win the 5,000m. The day before, such a feat had looked highly unlikely, Farah complaining of being tired. But as Fudge drove him into the village, Farah told him he would run 52 seconds for the last lap, with Farah proving true to his word.

Quite what predictions he makes en route to the Luzhniki Stadium are not clear but Fudge said he would not know until that point, when Farah usually says "I'm ready". This race is like last year's Olympics but with a twist: because of the nature of the schedule he will have one less day to recover.

Minus the extra day, his build-up will be the same as in London, in fact the same as it has been every year since the European Championships in Barcelona in 2010 en route to his first double at those distances. Each morning, Fudge will liaise with Farah's coach Alberto Salazar either over breakfast at Moscow's five-star Crowne Plaza hotel or via email to put in place a programme for the day. As Farah himself says, "I just leave it all to Barry" and does what he is told.

The past days will have involved some running – from two-mile bursts to two hours on the treadmill at the gym – and high protein food such as rice, chicken, fish and veg as well as recovery drinks. He will have had daily massages from the performance director Neil Black, a trained physiotherapist, and ice baths to reduce any inflammation; and he will have slept a staggering 12 hours out of every 24, broken up between night-time and naps in the day, all of it in an altitude tent in his hotel bedroom.

Fudge, whose twin Steve coaches the sprinters James Dasaolu and Jonnie Peacock, and Farah started working together in 2009, since when Fudge has travelled with him to training camps in Iten, Kenya, and Oregon as well as the major championships.

He is a part-nutrionist, part-listening ear and part-bouncer as he tries to keep the distractions to an absolute minimum. In the past he has had blood tests done to see where Farah is physically but Fudge has opted against that here as Farah bids for only the second double double of its kind in history – Kenenisa Bekele achieved it in 2008 and 2009. No stone is being left unturned.

"We do everything we possibly can to get him there in the best shape possible," says Fudge. "People just see him turn up in a stadium and run the race and go 'wow, that's incredible'. But what actually goes into getting you to that point is a massive achievement. Most people wouldn't do what he does, most people can't."

As for what puts Farah above the rest of the field, Fudge merely taps his head. "That's his superpower." Super Mo will be expected to deliver again tomorrow night.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
News
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Helpdesk Team Leader / Manager

£45000 per annum + pension,medical: Ashdown Group: A successful & reputable gl...

General Cover Teacher

£100 - £105 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: Secondary Teachers of all sub...

IT Systems Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

General Cover Teacher

£100 - £105 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: Secondary Teachers of all sub...

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game