Sunday, August 05, 2012

Mo, Rupp and the 1988 City to Surf

I've just watched the replay of the men's Olympic 10,000 metre race from London. It was an exciting race! The slow-striding Mo Farah won with a sustained 500 metre 'sprint' (last lap in 53 seconds), finishing ahead of training partner Galen Rupp. A triumph for coach Alberto Salazar, who I remember watching as one of the favourites for the '84 Olympic marathon, along with Rob de Castella (who shared Australian commentary with Steve Ovett for the London race). Rupp was featured in the July edition of Running Times. As per usual, the magazine also had a section for Masters runners. I'm always fascinated by the training and running philosophy of the chosen 'Age-Group Ace'. Ever since I started running I've been a rusted-on middle-of-the-pack ace. For a bit of fun I'm listing my training for the 1988 City to Surf in 'Running Times style'. Looking at it 24 years after the fact it reads like the training of a different person. The only session I could do now would be the 'easy day' — if I ran at race effort!

TRAINING REGIMEN Aug. 1-14, 1988

MON: 9k easy with Drummoyne Rugby Club runners & Bruce in 38 minutes (4:13 per k)
TUE: 15k at Lane Cove Park in 70 minutes (4:40 per k)
WED: 6K track session (Rotary Field grass track) - 10 x 300m, 53.5 ave, 2 sets (100 walk recov)
THUR: 7k incl 3000m track race at Hensley Field in 10:11 (3:24 per k)
FRI: 14k at Lane Cove Park 'steady' in 61:40 (4:24 per k)
SAT: 8k race at Auburn in 30:21 (3:47 per k)
SUN: AM: 15k easy at Harbord; PM: 11k bush track run at Lane Cove


MON: Rest day
TUE: 14k at Lane Cove Park in 59:40 (4:16 per k)
WED: 7k track session (Rotary Field) - 10 x 300m with George, 54.5 ave, 2 sets + 3 laps of sprinting straights, jogging bends
THU: 5k incl 800m race 'steady' at Hensley Field in 2:21 (69/72)
FRI: 7k at Lane Cove Park 'easy' in 33 minutes (4:43 per k)
SAT: Rest day
SUN: Race: 14k City to Surf - 590th in 53:33 (3:49 per k) PB

Still with a 'preferred start' in 1990

Galen Rupp: contented and happy after the London Olympics


Blogger Jaymee said...

That was an amazing race! Had me on the edge of my seat and left me with tears in my eyes for the two training mates. Thanks for posting your age-group ace training and that bib! The data geek in me loves that you have kept your records all these years. You are an animal!

3:42 pm  
Blogger Thomas said...

I suppose you WERE a different person when you were 24 year younger.

Great race by Mo.

6:05 pm  
Blogger Lize Brittin said...

Wow- That ending was beautiful in the 10,000!

5:58 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

No worries Jaymee. I was on the edge of my seat listening to it on the radio (live), then we got to see the replay later. BTW, I'm known down here as an animal... but a subdued one - a wombat ;-)

Thomas, that's right! Something you have to look forward to when you're running ultras in another 20-odd years.

Lize, yeah! It was one of those perfect Olympic stories - even more perfect for my U.S. friends.

7:21 pm  
Blogger Luckylegs said...

Phew! Can't imagine holding onto all those sporting memorabilia collectables...hope you never have to move house!

6:58 pm  
Blogger RICK'S RUNNING said...

Hi Ewen,
Yes great race for Mighty Mo and team GB!
Maybe I was most impressed by Rupp as he was showed that white guys can still take on the African runners!
I could beat myself at running 24 years on, cause I only started running 20 years ago :0]

3:49 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Luckylegs, if I ever have to move house I'll invite all my running friends over to help ;-)

Rick, same here. Rupp is the new Craig Mottram. Congrats to Team GB - they're having a great games! 20 years is still a solid running history - didn't know you'd been at it that long. Thought you were a cyclist who switched over 10 or so years back.

7:32 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Very happy with my result in the 2012 City to Surf - 67:54 - which keeps me in the 'Red A-group' start for next year (sub-70 required).

Sorry I'm behind on reading and commenting on blogs. I'll blame the weekend away, London Olympics and a nagging head-cold. Will try and catch up over the coming days. Hope you're all well.

7:20 pm  
Blogger Black Knight said...

That was an impressive august! I began to run one year later.
That rugby Club sounds interesting!
Are you ready for the 4 Nations?
Here I have already the tickets for the test match against the All Blacks and the 6Nations matches in Rome. I have to decide if I follow Italy to Scotland or England.

4:21 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Stefano. Young rugby players are very fit!
I'm ready. It'll be interesting to see how the Pumas go... but of course the Wallabies will win ;-)

7:29 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been out of contact with events in the past few weeks, so like you, I had to catch up with the replays of Farah’s wonderful victories. The Bekele brothers and the Kenyans permitted a leisurely pace that set Mo up well for an unbeatable final lap in the 10000m. In contrast, in the 5000 he had some fairly speedy sprinters on his shoulder down the back straight and had to draw on all his psychological strength in addition to his physical power. The two victories clearly establish him as the leading long distance runner on the track at the moment, eclipsing the Ethiopians and the Kenyans. But perhaps even more surprising in this Olympics was the eclipse of the Kenyans in both the men’s and woman’s marathons.

It was very interesting to see your training log for C2S in 1988 and to compare your finishing time in 2012 with 24 years previously. You have slowed by an average of a little over 1% per year, which is a little greater than the deterioration predicted by WAVA. In 1988 you were ‘state class’. Now you are in the upper part of the ‘local class’ range – but still not too far from ‘state class’. Maybe you adopted a more relaxed attitude to the event this year. Nonetheless, it is very difficult to keep in the same place relative to WAVA standard as the years go by. The runners who set the standard in the veteran age range are not only exceptional athletes but have also aged exceptionally well.

2:40 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Hi Canute, good to hear from you! Both Mo's races were edge-of-the-seat affairs. Amazingly, Channel 9 broadcast both the men's and women's 5k races in full with no ad breaks. Perhaps the Kenyan's demise in the marathons were due to a combination of over-confidence and erratic pacing tactics?

'Keeping pace' with the WAVA tables isn't easy. There are a few mitigating factors with the comparison of my City to Surfs 24 years apart. This year my main goal was to break 70 minutes (the new time for a first group start), so when I realised that was safe at 10k I didn't go hard on the downhills as I would if going for a fast time. Also, the crowds where I'm running these days preclude any thought of running the tangents. I also wasn't ruthless about getting around runners who might have been running a bit too slow at times. In the old days I'd be running single file by about 7k so passing was never an issue. And this year we were against a strong southerly wind once we turned onto Old Southead Rd at 8k. Yes, quite a list of excuses, but I think they're honest excuses ;-)

7:02 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fact that huge numbers of runners ranging from elites to would-be wombles participate in big city events like C2S is great, but the downside is that everyone apart from the elites at the front gets caught up in a melee that confounds hopes of a PB. This, together with your relaxed approach to this year’s event, makes it unreasonable to draw any firm conclusions from the comparison with you PB performance in 1988. Nonetheless, even though the comparison was not entirely reasonable, I made the comment because the difficulty of keeping pace with the WAVA standards has been a issue I have been facing in recent years. In my case, several illnesses have confounded the picture. However, you have succeeded in maintaining very regular training over the years with few problems apart from the hypothyroidism, which you appear to have sorted out now, so I have been interested to keep an eye on how you are doing relative to WAVA standard. You have run some good 5000m races and also a good 10K on Gold Coast this year, but according to my estimates you appear to have dropped a little relative to your best times over these distances about 20 years ago.

I cannot cope with the volume of training that you have maintained. My provisional answer to the question of how to slow the aging process is to add resistance training, but due to a troublesome episode of arthritis two year ago which left me with a very painful wrist, I have been inhibited from taking up weights a serious manner. However a few weeks ago I decided to do some systematic resistance work, building up the weight very gradually. To my delight, my wrist is actually less painful now, presumably because my atrophied fore-arm muscles now provide better support. Also my sprint speed has improved, though it is too early to draw any firm conclusion.

8:50 pm  
Blogger Black Knight said...

Just seen the match on tv. Sorry four the Wallabies.
And now I am ready to watch SA-Argentina.
Good luck for the next matches.

10:06 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Canute, I'm sure if you could get a 'clear run' of 6 months of consistent training your WAVA result would be comparable to what you were running years ago (or maybe even from your Adelaide days?). It's good to hear that the resistance training has been paying off in recent weeks.

The WAVA age % for my 10k has declined - from 74% in my youth, down to about 71% for Gold Coast. I'd need to run about 43-flat for a 10k to record 74%. I don't think such a time is impossible, but my preparation would have to be near perfect (including some serious speedwork).

Stefano, we didn't play well, so deserved to lose. SA v Argentina wasn't close at all!

7:04 pm  

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