The previous post in this series can be found here.
You may have noticed, but we're holding a little sporting shindig here in London over the next two weeks that's got everyone rather excited. I myself am going to be spending a lot of time shuttling back and forth between the Olympic park and my house in Oxford and most of the rest of the time glued to my laptop watching as many sports as is humanly possible! Thanks to this busy sporting schedule, this week's post will be somewhat shorter than some of my others in the past, but I hope you still find it interesting. You may think, dear reader, that I will be shirking my scientific duties by devoting myself so fully to the Olympic smorgasbord but my enthusiasm is born out of pure biochemical curiosity and the sporting element is, I can assure you, wholly secondary!
How does biochemistry fit into the greatest show on Earth, you may ask? How does it not, I would respond! All of the athletes competing in this year's games have spend years training to improve their body's biochemical response to stress and physical exertion in order to fulfil the Olympic ideal of 'faster, higher, stronger'. In my last post of this series I described the molecular processes that allow muscle contraction and in the preceding post I talked about how energy is processed within your cells to produce the 'energy currency' of your post: ATP. In this post I will bring these two topics together and discuss how energy is regulated in different muscle types and how the biochemical situation varies hugely between the 100m and the marathon.