BIG 25 Berlin – Preview.

One of the most famous Berlin’s road races has now an official Half-Marathon course. The start will be in front of the Olympic Stadium; the course then will lead the runners through the city centre of the capital, passing Brandenburg Gate, Unter den Linden, Friedrichstraße, Gendarmenmarkt, Potsdamer Platz, the Memorial Church at Kurfürstendamm and the TV tower (the Half-Marathon and the 10k runners will pass through a shorter version of the route). The finish will then be on the glorious blue track of the Olympic Stadium (a very rare opportunity to trample on the legendary track). Did you train for the event? You could check your condition with a simple Conconi-test, or refine your preparation using the Hypoxic chamber! For the most scientific race-enthusiasts: have you ever thought about Amino Acids supplements?
More than 10000 entries are expected and after the recent record set by the 6th Berliner Airport Run (3972 runners at the start) it’s not difficult to predict a great race!

The time limit to accomplish the race for 25k is fixed in 3h 15min and for 10k in 1h 30min. Anyone not reaching 12.5k within the time zone of 95 min after the start is kindly asked to end the race. These runners will be brought by bus to the Olympic Stadium.
BIG 25 Berlin has produced five world records in total over the years: Kenneth Cheruiyot 1:13:58 (in 1997), Rodgers Rop 1:13:44 (in 2001), Paul Kosgei 1:12:45 (in 2004) and Samuel Kosgei 1:11:50 (in 2011). The course seems to be very fast: every runner looking for a PB should think about the participation to this spectacular race.
Meanwhile…keep on training, people!

About avoiding supplements – The Amino Acids.

Running is sweat, fatigue, sacrifice. The systematic nature of training has always fascinated me: being just you, your body and your mind looking for the next limit it’s a kind of magic. But between what you can actually do and what you potentially do there’s a “Thin red line”, nowadays very easy to overcome: the line dividing the world of supplements by everyday’s world. I won’t write about doping and I’m not a Physiologist, a Doctor or a Nutritionist; I simply like to study those subjects that can be useful for the understanding of our body’s kinematics and dynamics (maybe it’s a professional bias, since I’m a Race Engineer; see my posts about Conconi-test and Hypoxic chambers).
Taking into account the RDA* indications of BCAA** provided by FAO***, what you can find in specific literature is that a runner (or any other athlete) doesn’t really need an amino acid supplement to increase his performance: “Research on healthy subjects does not provide convincing evidence for an ergogenic effect of regular intake of amino acid supplements on hormone secretion, training responsiveness, or exercise performance. In studies with appropriate design and statistical analysis, oral supplements of arginine, lysine, ornithine, tyrosine, and other amino acids, either singly or in combination, produced no effect on […] all-out running performance at V̇2max.”[1].
Using the values reported at the end of the article, one can easily build a spreadsheet to calculate the real need of BCAA. The basic athlete’s data are listed in Table 1.
Table1 – Athlete’s data.
In Table 2, for the above-mentioned athlete’s data, you can find an example of the RDA and equivalent BCAA contents in various kind of food: it’s easy to deduce how the equivalent BCAA found in normal quantities of food can be sufficient to satisfy an athlete’s need.
Table2 – Example of RDA and equivalent BCAA contents in various kind of food.
The main assumptions that regulate the calculations carried on in the two tables are the following:
“The indispensable amino acids are leucine, isoleucine, valine, lysine, threonine, tryptophan, methionine, phenylalanine and histidine. The requirements estimates in the 1985 FAO/WHO/UNU […] report were taken directly from the 1973 FAO/WHO report. […] since 1985 concerns have been expressed about the derived values, and all now agree that they were certainly too low. […] Finally, it must be recognized that these new values have not been validated in any entirely satisfactory way, i.e. in long-term studies at the requirement intakes with measurement of body weight, body composition and well-being. […] However, while these studies provide useful information on the adequacy of one intake level, they do not enable a requirement intake to be defined.
[…] total branched-chain amino acid requirements ranging from 110 mg/kg per day to 134 mg/kg per day depending on outcome used and taking into account an initial 10% overestimate. […] the three branched-chain amino acids […] 39 mg/kg per day for the leucine requirement, […] 26 mg/kg per day for valine and 20 mg/kg per day for isoleucine.
[…] Whereas some uncertainty remains over the adult indispensable amino acid requirements, the best current estimates are: […]
  • Mean nitrogen requirement of 105 mg nitrogen/kg per day (0.66 g protein/kg per day).
  • Assuming a mean total protein requirement of 0.66 g/kg per day, intakes of about 0.18 g/kg per day […] of indispensable […] amino acids, […] should be sufficient to maintain body nitrogen homeostasis in healthy adults.


[…] There is no information on the variability of requirements for individual amino acids. Therefore, approximate values were calculated on the assumption that the inter-individual coefficient of variation of the requirements for amino acids is the same as that for total protein, i.e. 12%. On this basis, the safe levels of intake for the indispensable amino acids are 24% higher than the values for average requirement shown […]”[2]
Tired? Bored? Or interested? Whatever…keep on training, people! And if it’s not enough, try this amazing motivational videos


* Recommended Dietary Allowance.
** Branched-Chain Amino Acids.
*** Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.


W. D. Mc Ardle, F. I. Katch and V. L. Katch, “Exercise Phisiology – Energy, Nutrition, & Human Performance,” in Exercise Phisiology – Energy, Nutrition, & Human Performance, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2007, p. 572.
“Protein and amino acid requirements in human nutrition : report of a joint FAO/WHO/UNU expert consultation,” in Joint FAO/WHO/UNU Expert Consultation on Protein and Amino Acid Requirements in Human Nutrition – Geneva, Switzerland, 2002.
Here you can find a list of my running-related posts. Now shut down the notebook and have a run!
Science and Training:

6th Berliner Airport Run – Preview.

In Berlin there are now two airports: Tegel (the main international airport) and Schönefeld. On 2 June 2012, at 10:50 pm, an Air Berlin Boeing 737-800 operating a special 50-minute sightseeing charter flight over the city will mark the end of more than half a century of Tegel’s commercial use.
Schönefeld is being prepared with the construction of another landing strip and the big news for pro and amateurs runners is that we’ll have the last chance to walk (or run) on the airstrip’s tarmac by participating to the “6th Berliner Airport Run”, on 22 April 2012. Around 3500 participants are expected, with an increase of 50% over last year (2125 starters).
The track is a 10k course (which is to be run twice by half marathon runners). It’s going along the construction side of the new Airport Berlin-Brandenburg BER, on the new runway and by the new terminal.  This is the map of the course:
It should be a good chance to make a new Personal Best, since the course seems to be very flat and fast (even if a windy day could change the plans of people looking at the chrono).
The current competition records are the following:

  • 10km M: André Pollmächer (Rhein-Marathon Düsseldorf) 31:15
  • 10 km F: Veerle Dejaeghere (Belgien)34:41
  • Half Marathon M: Joseph Kiptum (Kenia) 63:32
  • Half Marathon  F: Sylvia Renz (OSC Berlin)82:52

For more informations visit the official website:
Meanwhile…keep on training, people!