Not content with personal evidence, Sheehan recalls research done on the renowned marathoner Abebe Bikila of Ethiopia in Tokyo during the 1964 Olympics. Along with other runners, Bikila was tested on a treadmill, on which he began running at an easy pace without a warmup. His heart rate and respiration rose gradually during the first few minutes and then leveled off. "And then suddenly," Sheehan writes, "at the three-minute mark (it was later for the less gifted) Bikila had a sharp drop in his pulse and breathing. He also began to sweat and his pulse pressure widened. He was in the perfect physical state for distance running.
"It's as simple as that. Easy and natural does it. You have to avoid rush and bustle and pushing and shoving, and put away impatience and force and speed, if you want to find your second wind. It takes the hunter's tireless trot to bag that elusive Pimpernel."