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.

News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Arts and Entertainment
Worldwide ticket sales for The Lion King musical surpassed $6.2bn ($3.8bn) this summer
tvMusical is biggest grossing show or film in history
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Life and Style
food + drink
News
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
News
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
news
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Life and Style
The Google Doodle celebrating the start of the first day of autumn, 2014.
tech
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

Pharmaceutical Computer System Validation Specialist

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...

High Level Teaching Assistant (HTLA)

£70 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Higher Level Teaching Assist...

Teaching Assistant

£50 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education is the UK...

Senior Java Developer - API's / Webservices - XML, XSLT

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits