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.

Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Voices
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Sport
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths surrounding the enigmatic singer
Life and Style
life
Sport
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
Sport
Christian Benteke of Aston Villa celebrates scoring the winner for Aston Villa
football
News
Bill O'Reilly attends The Hollywood Reporter 35 Most Powerful People In Media Celebration at The Four Seasons Restaurant on April 16, 2014 in New York City
media It is the second time he and the channel have clarified statements
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Lettings and Sales Negotiator - OTE £46,000

£16000 - £46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Home Care Worker - Reading and Surrounding Areas

£9 - £13 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a s...

Recruitment Genius: Key Sales Account Manager - OTE £35,000

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Have you got a proven track rec...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn