I thought I would collect what Canova wrote in the current Letsrun thread into one place on here without a lot of the other crap that got added by other posters (not that it was all crap), just to make it a little easier to read/follow. If people can maybe not add their own thoughts in this thread, I'll add anything new that gets tacked onto that discussion by him over time.
Everything else I post will be straight copies fro the Letsrun thread here:
After the historical Sunday that changed the Marathon in the World, I like to speak about the young Italian coach of both the athletes at 2:04:27 (Duncan Kibet and James Kwambai). Claudio Berardelli is a very young (27 years), motivated and humble person. He's doctor in Science of the Movement, and from about 3 years works in Kenya. Looking at the results of his athletes, at the moment he can be considered the coach number 1 in the World in Middle and long distances.
His Marathon runners are, apart Kibet and Kwambai, Martin Lel, Robert Cheruiyot, Evans Cheruiyot, the number 3 in Paris yesterday, the winner of Rome in 2:07:17 and many others about 2:08.
On track,he's the coach of the Olympic Champion of 1500m W (Nancy Lagat), of the World Champions of 800m M-W (Alfred Kirwa and Janet Jepkosgei), and of the new Matthew Kisorio, second behind Mosop in Kenyan CC Trials.
We share without any stupid secret our experiences in training. If I teached something to him, I learnt a lot from his new experiences. We have to learn from the athletes, discovering every time new possibilities in training, due to the different talent and the different physiology of everybody.
So, we are now trying to better understand the connection between volume and intensity, because Kibet and Kwambai have a training of high quality with little volume (130-140 km per week), many times running only once per day. But, at the same time, Martin Lel and Robert Cheruiyot have a training of high volume.
I will explain, step by step, what we are trying to understand and to analyse.
REGENERATION : has the goal to better and faster recover the effects of fatigue after tough training. If the normal basic level of lactate in an athlete is 1.2 / 1.5 mml/l, after a hard workouts (expecially in the lactic zone) the level remains higher for 2-3 days, if the athlete goes to rest. Instead, after an EASY RUN, he is able to remove the residual lactate, and his lactic level can decrease under 1.0 mml/l, with a feeling of wellbeing.
For every event we have different speeds of REGENERATION, but normally the right speed is about 60-70 % of the speed of the Threshold. So, in case of a top Marathon runner, having a Threshold about 2:48 per km, we can speak of Regeneration when he runs slower than 3'40" / 3'45". In this case, 3'45" or 5' have the same effect, but many times running too slowly provokes mechanical problems. Instead, for a good 800m runner (1'44") coming from 400m, and having a Threshold of 18 km/h (3'20" per km), Rigeneration is running slower than 4'10" / 4'20", but, because the biomechanical difference between the speed of the race (13" every 100m) and the speed of regeneration is very evident, sometimes is better to use other systems (pool, sauna or other situations not involving wrong running technique).
FUNDAMENTAL : We call this BASIC AEROBIC TRAINING. The goal is to be the support for evefry workout of higher intensity.
800m : Duration 20' - 40'. Speed : 1,4 - 1,5 slower than the Race Pace (RP) Examples : Athlete 1'44" (RP 13" per 100m) : 18"2 - 19"5 per 100m (3'02" - 3'15" / km) Athlete 2' (RP 15") : 21" - 22"5 (3'30" - 3'45")
1500m : Duration 30' - 50' Speed : 1,3 - 1,4 slower than RP Examples : AT 3'30" (RP 14") : 18"2 - 19"6 (3'02" - 3'16") AT 4' (RP 16") : 20"8 - 22"4 (3'28" - 3'44")
5000m : Duration 45' - 1:10 Speed : 1,15 - 1,25 slower than RP Examples : AT 13' (RP 15"6) : 17"9 - 19"5 (2'59" - 3'15") AT 15' (RP 18") : 20"7 - 22"5 (3'27" - 3'45")
10000m : Duration 1 hr - 1 hr30' Speed : 1,15 - 1,25 slower than RP Examples : AT 26'40" (RP 16") : 18"4 - 20" (3'04" -3'20") AT 32' (RP 19"2) : 22" - 24" (3'40" - 4')
HM : Duration 1 hr 20' - 1 hr 40' Speed : 1,15 - 1,25 slower than RP Examples : AT 59'47" (RP 17"):19"5 - 21"2 (3'15" - 3'32") AT 1:10:40 (RP 20") : 23" - 25" (3'50" - 4'10")
MARATHON : Duration 1 hr 45' - 2 hr 30' Speed : 1,1 - 1,2 slower than RP Examples : AT 2:05'(RP 17"7): 19"5 - 21"2 (3'15" - 3'32") AT 2:49' (RP 24") : 26"4 - 28"8 (4'24" - 4'48")
How is possible to see, the speed of 800-1500 are the same, the speed of 5000 and 10000 are very close, and the speed for HM and MAR are the same. This means that, with a correct methodology, WE CAN HAVE A STRATEGY FOR MOVING IN TWO YEARS FROM ONE DISTANCE TO THE LONGER USING THE SAME SPEED BUT EXTENDING THE DURATION.
The BASIC AEROBIC MILEAGE is the first step for building up the ENDURANCE. We need to increase it during the first 3-5 years of career, after is no more so important.
SPECIFIC TRAINING : is all the Training including speeds between 95 and 105% af the speed of the race. For a middle distance runner, SPECIFIC is TO RUN, and nothing else. When we speak about exercises, gym and other training of support, we speak about FUNDAMENTAL or SPECIAL TRAINING, useful for bettering the SPECIFIC.
Which are the specific speeds for events ?
800m (1'44") : 12"4 - 13"6 per 100m 1500m (3'30") : 13"3 - 14"7 per 100m 5000m (13') : 14"8 - 16"4 per 100m 10000m (26'40") : 15"2 - 16"8 per 100m HM (59'47") : 16"2 - 17"8 per 100m MAR (2:05') : 17" - 18"7 per 100m
If we have to give some example, for the different events, we can show some workouts as follows :
- 2 sets of 5 x 300m in 39" (rec. 1' between tests, 4' between sets) - 4 x 400 in 51" rec. 5' / 6' - 3 x 600 in 1'17" rec. 6' / 8' - 1000 in 2'17" + 400 in 51" + 200 in 24"5, rec. 8'
- 2 sets of 8 x 300m in 40" (rec. 45" between tests, 4' between sets) - 8 x 400 in 56" rec. 2' - 5 x 600 in 1'24" rec. 3' / 4' - 3 x 1000 in 2'20" rec. 6' / 8' - 2000 in 4'55" + 1000 in 2'22" + 600 in 1'24", rec. 6'
- 15 x 400 in 60" rec. 45" - 10 x 600 in 1'30" / 1'32" rec. 1'30" / 2' - 6 x 1000 in 2'32" / 2'36" rec. 2' / 3' - 3 x 2000 in 5'15" / 5'20" rec. 3' / 4' - 3000 in 8' + 2000 in 5'15" + 1000 in 2'32", rec. 5' / 6'
- 15 x 600 in 1'33" / 1'35" rec. 1'30" - 10 x 1000 in 2'36" / 2'38" rec. 1'30" / 2' - 4 x 2000 in 5'15" + 1 x 1000 in 2'30" rec. 4' - 3000 in 8' + 2 x 2000 in 5'20" + 4 x 1000 in 2'38", rec. 3' between 3000 / 2000, 2' between 2000, 1'30" between 1000
- 7 x 2000 in 5'35"/ 5'40" rec. 400m in 2' - 5 x 3000 in 8'25" rec. 1000m in 3'15" / 3'20" - 3 x 5000 in 14'15" rec. 1000m in 3'20" - 15 km long continuous run at 102 % HMP - 25 km long continuous run at 97% HMP
- 6 x 4000 in 11'40" rec. 1000m in 3'20" (29 km) - 5 x 5000 in 14'40" rec. 1000m in 3'20" (29 km) - 4 x 6000 in 17'40" rec. 1000m in 3'20" (27 km) - 4 x 7000 in 21' rec. 1000m in 3'15" (23 km) - 5 x 2000 in 5'40" inside a long run of 35 km at pace of 3'15" - 25 km long continuous run at 102% of MP - 30 km long continuous run at MP - 35 km long continuous run at 97% of MP - 40 km long continuous run at 92% of MP
How is possible to understand, the global volume of SPECIFIC TRAINING for session is HIGHER than the distance of the event in 800m, 1500m, 5000m, is about the same distance in 10,000m, and is generally shorter than the distance in HM and MARATHON.
So, if we have 4 different phylosophies of training for different periods (using a MACROCYCLE of 6 months, for example, that can divide Indoor and Outdoor season, or, in case of Marathon, Spring and Autumn Marathon), we have MESOCYCLES having different percentages of volume and intensity.
a) INTRODUCTIVE PERIOD : Is about 3 weeks long, at the beginning of the preparation. In this period, the goal is to build up the general fitness at high level, using seeral means of training : Long Run for increasing the Aerobic Resistance, Gym for strengthening, Short Sprint uphill for increasing the ability in recruitment, Technique for increasing the running ability. With different percentage, this is the goal for every athlete, from 800m to Marathon.
b) FUNDAMENTAL PERIOD : Can last about 2 months, and is the most important part of the preparation. During this period, we reach the MAX volume of km, with growing intensity.
When we look at short events (800-1500), this period is used for a strong increase of AEROBIC POWER, and of STRENGTH ENDURANCE. There is not yet high speed, but the extension is important. So, it's better to maintain the same speed trying to extend the distance (for example, starting with 62" for 400m we move to 1'33" for 600 and 2'04" for 800 and 2'35" for 1000m)or the number of repetitions (from 8 x 400 in 62" rec. 2' to 12 x 400 in 62" rec. 2') or to reduce the recovery (from 8 x 400 in 62" rec. 2' to 8 x 400 in 62" rec. 1'). WE ARE NOT INTERESTED IN RUNNING FASTER
When we look at middle events (5000-10000m), this period is used for a QUALIFICATION of the long run, moving from AEROBIC ENDURANCE to AEROBIC POWER. So, during the first part of the period WE INCREASE THE DISTANCE AND THE GLOBAL VOLUME, during the second part WE MAINTAIN THE DISTANCE AND THE VOLUME AND INCREASE THE SPEED.
When we look at HM and MARATHON, we have the same goal of 5000/10000m. During this period, these specialists can train together.
So, THE PERIOD IS FOR BUILDING VOLUME AT LOWER INTENSITY FOR TRACK RUNNERS, AND HIGHER INTENSITY WITH NOT VERY HIGH VOLUME (compared with the distance of the race)FOR THE HM AND MARATHON RUNNERS
SPECIAL PERIOD : it lasts about 2 months, gradually moving from the FUNDAMENTAL. These periods or MESOCYCLES are not clearly defined : training can evolve in direction of the speed of the different events, trying to maintain the volume.
In this period, we have again 2 kinds of support for the SPECIFIC period :
a) Biomechanical : training of strength becomes more specific, increasing the intensity and reducing volume in the case of short distances, extending duration at the same intensity of before in case of HM and Marathon.
b) Metabolic : the speed of training approach the Specific speed in the short distances, reaching level of 95% (in case of ENDURANCE), or faster than 105% (Full Speed Training). The training of Over Speed can be considered part of Special Period, being the support for going in the SPECIFIC SPEED ENDURANCE TRAINING.
The difference between the short distances and the long distances is that, looking at the short, we work with very high speed in short distance with long recovery, or with intervals with a global volume of 4km - 6km, at 92-95% of the Speed of the Race, with short intervals.
Looking at the long distances, we work with speed of 102-105% with a volume of 10-12 km (10000m), 12-15 km (HM), and 20-30 km (Marathon). We speak,in this case, about intervals. Different is the situation for Long Continuous Run.
We must build a funnel, where the intensity must be extended, and the extension must become faster.
I want to precise that Lel and Cheruiyot are not my runners, but are, like Kibet and Kwambai, with Claudio Berardelli. When we speak of Claudio, we speak also of dr. Gabriele Rosa, that is the "mentor"of Claudio, giving him the first phylosophy about a correct methodology of training. Rosa was the first giving to Kenyans runners the correct idea about marathon training.
Now, we try to understand WHY for some athlete volume is a must, for some other not.
But, before going to analyse different situations,and to answer to many questions, let me finish to explain what we do during the SPECIFIC PERIOD.
In this pereiod, we INCREASE THE SPECIFIC VOLUME, in 2 directions :
a) WE RUN MORE REPETITIONS AT THE SPEED OF THE RACE (if we use the same distance)
b) WE EXTEND THE LENGTH OF THE REPETITIONS AT THE SAME SPEED.
This is what we do for EVERY event of endurance.
For example, if for an 800m runner (1'44") we were able to do 5 x 600m in 50" rec. 5', we try to add another 400 (6 x 400), or we try to EXTEND the distance, running (always with the same recovery of 5') 4 x 500 in 63".
For a Marathon runner, THE LONG FAST RUN (the final 2 times before the race) BECOME LONGER (34 - 38 km), THE SPECIFIC MARATHON SPEED ENDURANCE also becomes longer (for ex., 4 x 5000m with 1 km at 3'30" recovery become 5 x 5000, replacing one long run, because are 29 km), AND THE MODULATION GROWS.
You must remember that we NEED QUALITY, and it's possible to develop it ONLY IF THE ATHLETE IS NOT TOO TIRED.
So, while during Fundamental Period we continue to have high mileage for every day (so never the athlete run very fast, but never runs very slow), and during the Special Period we have already the right speed for th race but not yet with high volume, during the SPECIFIC PERIOD we have to do very easy training the 2 days before the SPECIFIC TRAINING, and we must recovery very well for the next 2 days.
I personally use, once every 3-4 weeks, a SPECIAL BLOCK (during the SPECIAL PERIOD) or a SPECIFIC BLOCK (during the specific period). Later I explain what they are.
So, THE PHYLOSOPHY FOR EVERY EVENT IS TO ENHANCE THE VOLUME OF SPECIFIC TRAINING, and the other type of training (Special and Fundamental) have the task to allow the athlete to do it.
The final question is :
HOW MUCH SUPPORT, and WHICH KIND OF SUPPORT, we need in order to reach that goal ?
When we speak about MILEAGE, we speak about something generic, that has very little influence in the real training. Mileage, without speaking about SPEED OF THE MILEAGE, is something useless.
Really, somebody can suppose that, for an athlete able running 42 km under 3' / km, RUNNING AT A SPEED OF 6:00 per Mile can be a useful training ?
Easy means at the pace of Regeneration. When we speak about regeneration, we must also remember that running too slow means to remain more long time in contact with the ground, losing muscolar tension and increasing the eccentric contraction when you have to absorbe the impact with the ground. That's the reason because, normally, top athletes prefer regenerate running at 3'50" / 4' per km that at 5' : under the point of view of ORGANIC FATIGUE, there is no difference, but about the biomechanical of the action, the athletes feel more comfortable running a little bit faster.
What I referred about Kimwetich and "Jogo" Koskei is what really happened. When an athlete, able to transfer his sensations to the coach, tells you that "I feel better", you must use this regeneration when he wants and needs.
But I'm surprised that many don't understand the difference in regeneration AFTER VERY HARD LACTIC WORKOUTS (where the level can reach 20 mml), needing 2-4 days for recovering, and after a LONG FAST RUN of 35 km. In this case (that long run is at Threshold level or lower, and the lactate level doesn't overtake 4 mml), it's better to speak of re-integration of what we use during training : mineral salts,liquids, amino-acids.
So,in this case, to use LONG REGENERATION RUN can be useless, if not damageous.
You must always remember that, HIGHER IS THE INTENSITY, LONGER MUST BE THE RECOVERY.
So, if we have marathon runners as Kibet and Kwambai, they use a very high percentage of SPECIFIC MARATHON SPEED in their training : 80 km per week, it means a percentage of 60% of specific speed compared with the full volume.
In case of Marathon runners using high volume (220-240 km per week), the quantity of SPECIFIC TRAINING is lower (no more than 60 km per week), and the percentage VERY MUCH LOWER (25-30%).
If there are athletes needing this volume,there are athlete not needing it, too. Or, better, NOT NEEDING IT AT THE MOMENT.
I can give data regarding the average, during fundamental and special period, of the weekly km of Shaheen during the years : 2001 : 90 2002 : 120 2003 : 150 2004 : 180 2005 : 150 2006 : 130
But, at the same time, after building a very good aerobic base, the volume of specific high intensity training continued to grow.
One day of 2006, before running Zurich meeting (he was in a very better shape than when he bettered the WR in 2004), we used a SPECIFIC BLOCK like this :
Morning : 4 x 1600m (rec. 4'30") in 3'56" / 3'59" / 3'58" / 3'57"
Afternoon : 2 sets of 5 x 300m (rec. 30" between tests and 2'30" between sets), average of the first 5 : 38"3, times of the second set : 39" - 37"3 - 37"2 - 37"3 - 37".
Somebody can think that, during a week including that Specific Block, the mileage is high ?
For exalting the quality, we need to increase the MODULATION, and all the top Champions need to exalt the quality.
About the marathon, now we start to see some new athlete having the same goal : to exalt the SPECIFIC quality (running fast with great extension), while there are still other specialist using lower quality with great volume.
This can happen because, at Marathon Speed, the border between SPECIAL and SPECIFIC is not very well defined, and we can take advantage ALSO from SPECIAL VOLUME, with an intensity a little bit slower than SPECIFIC SPEED.
Why only now we have these type of athletes ?
I think because, finally, very young and talented athletes move to marathon. Before, top runners spent a full career on track, moving to marathon only when old and, already, consumpted and no more able to run fast like before.
Now, because the event of 10000m practically disappeared from the meetings, and also on road there are a lot of HM and Marathon, but very few competitions of 10 km with good money, many young runners able to run about 27' move immediately to longer distances, BECAUSE THIS IS THE ONLY REAL MARKET FOR EARNING GOOD MONEY (If you are not one of the top 4-5 in the world in 10000m).
To be more young, it seems also to have different attitudes in recovering. But we speak about this another time.
More from Canova (** not sure whether this was Canova or the jackass who stole his handle, but it reads like his stuff, maybe cut and pasted from somewhere else?):
Yes, it's true that long runs and high mileage encourage the production of mitochondria and promote the growth of capillaries. The question is WHEN WILL THIS TRAINING WORK. If you want to build a house of 10 floors, when you arrive at the top you cannot continue to build. If you want to be more comfortable, YOU CAN ARRANGE SOMETHING INSIDE THE HOUSE, but you cannot touch the structure, that at the moment is finished. In the history of mythologies, there were many Coaches and Scientists that used very long runs for the CAPILLARIZATION. The first was Van Aaken, great coaches as Frassinelli from France used to start every season with 3 hours of long run at 5.0 per km (Jazy, WR holder of 2000m). But look at the value of the performances. Already in 1964, somebody (Snell) was able running 800 in 1.44. In 1979 Seb Coe ran 1.42.33. Now, nobody is able to run so fast. The Kenyan record of 800 is 1.42.24 from Sammy Koskei in 1984. In 1500m, 30/25 years ago we had a lot of European (not TOP champions) able running under 3.32 (Wessinghage, Hudak, Deleze, Abascal, Gonzalez) and somebody under 3.30 (Auita, Cram, Coe himself, Maree). Athletes from GBR able running 3.33 (Robson, Moorcroft, Rowland) had to find fortune in other events. In 2008 for the first time in 30 years NOBODY RAN UNDER 3.31. Instead, in 5000&10000m we continue to improve the best average, and in HM and Marathon everything changed. Why this, if not connected with the use of LONG FAST RUN, able to give stimula to the body. Dont forget that TRAINING IS THE ANSWER TO THE PROPOSAL, NOT THE PROPOSAL. Without stimula in some direction, there is no answer, and the performances go down. The repetition, year after year, of the same training (running 2hr30 instead 2hr15 at the same slow pace is not a different stimula)brings the athlete to a situation of non progress at the beginning, and of decrease of his qualities in the second time.
How many story house the athletes can build, depends on their talent and their application. How fast can you build a house ? It depends on how many workers you have, and how much money you can use for having more workers. There is not a fix rule : but it's sure that top talent (not only African, I think, for example, of Genny Di Napoli or Stefano Mei in Italy)can build their house very quickly. There are athlete already having a high number of mithocondria from their genetic, and for them the time used for building their aerobic house is shorter. I think, about an athlete 40 years old, starting running only at that time, that the possibility of improvement is very much reduced, because the ability in recovering is not very high, and the intensity that is possible to reach is relatively low. For example, for masters 60 years old, the BASIC AEROBIC TRAINING can be indentified with a SPECIAL TRAINING. For understanding something, I gave some program to my friends from 60 to 70 years old (they were runners when I was young), and I discovered that SPECIFIC WORKOUTS GO TO KILL THEM, also in 800m runners.ù Because their ability in transporting O2 is reduced, they need LONG RECOVERY, and a Training of Maintenance only. So, I think that is not possible to have a great intervention on the Organic Side, but the performance is strictly connected with the full physical efficiency.
The real difference in Marathon Training between the recent past and today, is the different interpretation we have about how to build the right fuel.
The secret of top Marathon runners is the ability in changing your engine.
As my English is not very fine, may be that is difficult to explain the idea, but I try.
We have a table. On this table there are 3 different containers : one is full of FAT, another is full of GLYCOGEN, and a third is empty. The athlete must learn to create the optimal mixture, taking part of it from one container, part from the other.
At the beginning, running at a supposed Marathon Pace (MP), he goes to use a lot of glycogen, and little fat.
When we go for the test of lactate (6 x 2000m even pace, including the MP, with 40.0 recovery, plus 1200m free at end : for example, at the beginning of the preparation for an athlete having the goal to run at 3:05 per km (2:10:08), we go for 2000m at the following speeds : 6:30 - 6:20 - 6:10 - 6:00 -5:55 - 5:50), we can see the level of lactate producted for every EVEN speed. From the lactate level, we understand which type of fuel the runner is using : higher is the level, more glycogen you use running. In this case, one example is as follows (3 months before the race) :
Because there is not a STEADY LEVEL, the athlete at the moment is not able to run a full marathon at 3:10 (2.3 mml is a normal level of speed for running a marathon), but finish his fuel earlier,may be about 32 km.
You continue your training, EXTENDING THE DURATION OF LONG FAST RUN and of SPECIFIC MARATHON ENDURANCE TRAINING (for example, 3 x 5000m in 15'25" alternated with 1 km in 3'45", become 4 x 5000 at the same speed). After one month, you go for the test again, and these are the results :
Normally, for controlling HOW MUCH GLYCOGEN you have still in your tank, we use a final 1200m free. If you are able running at a level of 7-9 mml, it means that you have yet a lot of glycogen in your tank.
So, for PUSHING the athlete to chose,among the fatty acids, the ones having higher energetic power, WE HAVE TO PUT IN CRISIS THE MUSCULAR FIBRES AND THE BODY.
We start running FAST, for example, 28 km at 3:10 pace, waiting that the tank of glycogen becomes empty. After 28, suddenly you run 3:30 and after 3:45. THE REAL TRAINING ARE ONLY THE LAST 2 KM, THE FIRST 28 HAD THE GOAL TO USE THE FUEL YOU HAD IN THE TANK.
When the body is in difficulty, our fibres pay more attention to the ability in chosing and selecting and using the fats with more energetic power. The next long run fast, our athlete is able to last, at the same speed, not 28, but 30 km, going in crisis after that mileage.
So, now WE START FROM THE INTENSITY.
In the past, starting from LONG SLOW RUN, we had a lot of km NOT ABLE TO CHANGE OUR ABILITY IN SELECTING THE FATS MORE POWERFUL.
Not all the fats have the same level of power. Is like the coal : coke and anthracite are different kinds of coal, with the first we can last a lot of time with not many calories, with the second we can have a higher level of calories per minute, but it finishes in shorter time.
So, to change the SPECIFIC MARATHON ENDURANCE means not to run a lot of km without influence on the bioenergetic system, BUT TO CHANGE THE ABILITY IN CREATING THE RIGHT FUEL. And this is possible only putting our body in crisis, so the fibres are able to recognize the best fats and to use them, reducing the use of glycogen at the Marathon Speed.
Now, we cannot depend on the tests for knowing the speed possible to run. WE GO DIRECTLY TO BUILD THE ABILITY OF THE BODY IN RUNNING AT A WELL IDENTIFIED SPEED, before the race. WE BUILD EXACTLY THE MARATHON WE WANT.
When I use SPECIAL or SPECIFIC MARATHON BLOCKS, I want to obtain the same effect you speak about with a short MP race before the "real" long run.
However, the answer is strictly individual.
For example, Orlando Pizzolato, winner in NY in 1984-85, never was able running at the predictable level (looking at his workouts) when used 3 full days of very little and easy run immediately before the Marathon. After this, his coach, Giampaolo Lenzi, tried a new way : to reduce only a little the volume of the last 3 days, with some km at MP the day before the race. You could see the results : 2 following victories in NY is not something small....
During the long runs in Kenya (and in Ethiopia, too) normally the athletes drink only water. Sometime we meet runners going without any assistant (no car following them) in courses of 45 km, of course without any possibility to drink. Not only, but one of the most difficult problems to solve for training kenyan marathon runners is to teach them to drink. Many of them think that not drinking can strengthen their endurance in very bad conditions of weather. And, also when they drink, a lot of time they only put little water in their mouth, and after they spit out without swallowing. Different is the situation during the race. Many athletes (not all, but many) use maltodestrines,if they have european or american coaches, knowing the system. For example, in preparation of WCh of Osaka 2007, that we knew were very hot and humid, I went with Shami for any specific workout at lower altitude (Keiyo Valley), at 11:00 o'clock in the morning, in order to have full adaptation to the conditions of the race. Several times Luke Kibet came with our group. During that period, I always used Maltodestrines (in powder), melted in water, trying to create the best concentration for each athlete. In fact, the reaction in the stomach is individual, changing from every athlete. Somebody cannot use, because feels acidity after drinking, for some other everything is ok. In the case of Shami, we found a good solution using 2 normal spoons of powder in 250 ml of water. The same we use in Osaka, where he was able to win silver, in spite to have a sciatic problem that didn't allow him to run faster than 3:10 per km. But also in the Italian Methodology of 20 years ago (producing Bordin, Pizzolato, Poli, Bettiol and many ladies), we used sometimes to go for long run WITHOUT using any refueling, in order to oblige the body in seeking the residual energy in some store, that normally is closed. Similar situation we use when we go for SPECIAL BLOCKS of VOLUME (for example, in the morning 10 km in 33' + 15 km at MP (3'04" is 46'), the same in the afternoon). This means 20 km at 90% of MP + 30 km at MP in the day. In order to stimulate the body in using ALL the risources for lasting at MP, between the first and second session the athlete easts only vegetables and drinks water, without filling his tank again with carbohydrates. The final goal is to teach to the runner to use ALL the resources that he has. That's the reason because a lot of km at low intensity, for an athlete already mature, cannot produce any effect. What we need, is not a global very high volume,but the ability in growing, year after year, IN THE LENGTH OF THE SINGLE RUN AT HIGH INTENSITY. To increase the SPECIFIC MARATHON ENDURANCE is a physiological problem, as the athlete must change his ability in building the right fuel, using LESS percentage of glycogen and MORE percentage of fat for the same speed. We can reach this effect only using SPECIFIC SPEED for long time,not a lot of volume not stimulating the body in "scratching the bottom of the barrel".
I never was connected with Gabriele Rosa and his organisation, so really I don't know which type of organisation he had for the FILA program in US. Rosa was the first coach going to Kenya for marathon runners. The first managers going there were interested in track athletes, because Kenya, in the first 90, didn't have good marathon runners. The exception (Douglas Wakhiiuri and Ibrahim Hussein) were of Japanese and American school. Rosa understood the potential of this people for long run. His first problem was to give a correct phylosophy of training. So, he gave a very simple training schedule, containing the basilar concepts for a marathon runner. This was the winning act, because it was not possible to complicate too much the program for runners not having specific culture. Rosa was one of the best Italian coaches of Marathon. His best Italian runner, Gianni Poli, won NY in 1986 and was 3rd in the World Cup 1989. Another athlete he follows directly was Nechadi, the maroccan living in US, that became a mentor of Cathrine Ndereba. His big merit, apart his technical knowledge, was to create an organisation that was interested in sponsoring his camps. He was the one going in touch with FILA before, with NIKE later, and was able to have more money than any other manager in the world for developing his project. As coach, he came in Kenya a lot of times, but never staying for very long time. He came for controlling the program of the athletes, looking some specific session, and after went back to Italy. So, the reality is that he never followed the athletes 100%, how now Claudio can do. Claudio is a coach, and also can organise the way of living of his athletes in Kenya. He stays here with continuity, and this is the way because he can know the specific, individual attitudes of every athlete so well, that can change the basic program for somebody, in order to create the best "cloth" for everybody. This fact depends on how long you live with the athletes, not because the phylosophy is now different. The same thing for me. I was the coach (by programs only) of Nicholas Kemboi from 2001, but I discovered his incredible potential when I had the opportunity to stay with him for 50 days in St. Moritz in 2003. I changed a lot of things, and he ran 26'30". About the FILA project, I don't think that Rosa was long time in US personally. So, one think is to follow the evolution of the athletes personally, another thing to give programs. Rosa had a similar program in China too. Also there, the program didn't have success. In this case, the problem was the strictly rules of the Chinese government, that made Rosa prisoner of a situation where he could not use his creative intelligence. In any case, Rosa has, in my opinion, the most important part in the development of the World of Marathon, expecially under the organisative point of view.
Adrian, Claudio didn't have any new idea. He discovered that,for some athlete, it was possible running very fast a marathon without a big volume of km. So, he discovered that there is a typology of runners not needing a lot of km. But, attention : these runners had a lot of km before (Duncan Kibet is already 32 years old, and in the past, before meeting Claudio, he ran 3 marathons in 2:19, 2:20 and 2:27 : somebody can still think that athletes don't need a good coach ?), so we are in the CENTRAL phase of their career. If the goal of big volume is to create the right support for THE LONGEST AND FASTEST RUN (that always have to become better during all the career, otherwise there are no more stimula, and the performance goes down), there is an individual limit for that reason : after this limit, the volume loses the reason to be. The difference between various typologies of athletes are both physiological, mechanical and psychological. About the last parameter, I remember Gelindo Bordin, that wanted go for 3 hours (52 km about) before his marathons, already after winning Olympic. Lucio Gigliotti (and I fully agreed) explained him that was no more useful running 3 hours after years of preparation at top level ; but Gelindo answered "After running 3 hours, I feel very much more confident and sure about the distance". The process of searching and finding the best individual way for the top performance must include every side of the human qualities, and the ability to bring an athlete in top shape for the top event is something not connected with a correct knowledge of the methodology only. We have to look for a right way to build the self confidance, and to make the athletes sure about themselves. One of the qualities for the best coaches, is to LEARN from the athletes. The relation between coach and athlete cannot be like in Army (the coach orders and the athlete obeys), but the coach is a TEACHER able to explain the reasons of every technical choice, with the mentality to make able the athletes, year after year, to go alone walking with his legs. So, the type of relation is in continue evolution, and the coach becomes an ADVISOR for the athlete after many years of career, not needing to follow step by step every training, also those less important (like we need with beginners). About the "minestrone", during the GENERAL PERIOD (including the FUNDAMENTAL PERIOD), we have to put volume in our body, not only of km, but for strength and general fitness. In this period, we look for the INTERNAL LOAD. This means that the training (I always remember that TRAINING is not the PROPOSAL, but the individual ANSWER of every athlete)must be valuated according to the level of personal effort. For example, if I give a program with 10 times 1000m in 3' with 1'30" recovery, but the athlete is tired, the day is cold and windy, and he is able to run in 3'10" only using the same level of effort that he uses for running 3' in good conditions, HE HAS TO CONTINUE FOR 10 x 1000 in 3'10", because the INTERNAL LOAD is in any case what we wanted. Instead, During the SPECIFIC PERIOD, wego to prepare a SPECIFIC PERFORMANCE, and this is mathematic. If you want to run in 30', the speed you need for specific workouts is between 2'55" and 3' per km. If I tell you to run 10 x 1000 in 3', and you run in 3'10", is better for you to quit your training going for regeneration only, trying the SPECIFIC WORKOUTS another day. In this case, we look for the EXTERNAL LOAD, that is OBJECTIVE : for running the same time, every athlete (tall, small, young, old, fast, resistant...) needs to have a training with the SPECIFIC SPEED. That's means that we have big differences in the type of training between athlete and athlete during the GENERAL PERIOD, very little differences instead between the athletes during the SPECIFIC PERIOD. The only thing that can be different is THE SUPPORT (volume, recover, etch...) for the same type of specific training.
1) Boston is finished 10 minutes ago. This is the answer. I don't like to speak too much before. Sometimes, media go for the names, without knowing the reality. In the Press conference before the race, a lot of athletes explain that are prepared for winning and/or beating the WR. But what happens in the competition is something that nobody can know. I knew the shape of Selina was for running 2:23 in a perfect race. Boston was not perfect, with a lot of wind against, a big group running slowly, and everybody looking for a tactical solution. So, at the end, the real "heartbreak" was not from the hill, but from the finish, and Tune had to lose coscience soon after the line. I'm happy also for the second place of Daniel Rono. He is a very clever guy, able to use his brain in the best way. It was very difficult to move Daniel to marathon, because he wanted to run 10000 on track. So, my more important work was to change his mentality, starting with easy marathon. He won Madrid (2:12). Mumbai (2:12), Toronto (2:10), after was second behind Shami in Paris (2007, again 2:10), after second again in Toronto (first time under 2:10). Last year, he was mentally concentrated in a jump of quality, so we decided to try Rotterdam. He was 2nd in 2:06:58. The third place in NY opened for him the US market. Now, this very good performance in Boston.
2) Rodgers Rop is no more my athlete, from the last 2 years. He had some problem last year, but was very good 2 years ago, training with Volker Wagner again.
3) Rita had a lot of personal problems this winter, and dosen't run any marathon in Spring. May be that is looking for increasing the family....
4) I don't have any camp. My friend Gianni Demadonna (I coach several his athletes, but I'm not part of his organisation) has a big camp in Iten. The coach of the camp is the former marathon runner Joseph Cheromei, that started to coach with me in 2005 (I had a camp for 2 years, using my money, but after I decided to close, because of too many jealosies from Kenyan connected with different managers). When Gianni started in Iten, I adviced him to bring Cheromei with him. Now there is a young Italian, that was a my "protege" (Gabriele Nicola), that follows the camp when in Kenya, being the connection between Gianni and Cheromei.
5) I don't have anything to do with Abel Kirui. He's a very strong athlete, but we don't have any connection.
For Kenyans, the altitude is fundamental. But, in my ideas, for marathon is not so important. When I was the Italian responsible, we used altitude till 40-50 days before the race in some case,till 3 weeks before in other cases. Altitude has a DIRECT effect in increasing the AEROBIC POWER, but in marathon this is not so important : our final goal is TO REDUCE THE CONSUMPTION OF FUEL AT THE MARATHON SPEED. So, altitude is very good till the period we use for increasing the Threshold (finishing about 50 days before the race), not for the last period. But if you bring a Kenyan at sea level, his mind becomes weak, as he thinks to lose a lot of advantage. The problem of Kenyans, in any case, is not the altitude, but the kind of courses we use. In Iten, for example, never is possible running on flat courses. Everything is up and down, and this situation, very good far from the marathon, becomes bad approaching the race, if we don't find some solution for running fast using almost flat courses. This means that, normally, the athletes hasto move for 80-100km for going to the only courses more flat that there are near Eldoret (Ziwa, Soy, Nangili etc.). In the specific case of Boston, with Selina and Daniel we could stay in Iten or Kaptagat (Selina trains there), because we NEEDED this type of courses. The same happened in 2006 with Rita Jeptoo, preparing all the time in Iten. So, the secret is to prepare in specific way a specific marathon. Rotterdam is not Boston. Osaka in August is not Berlin. If you think we use 4-5 months for preparing a marathon, you understand that the preparation must be SPECIFIC, because every marathon has different situation and the athletes must be ready for facing different kinds of problems. In any case, the best Kenyan athletes are able to have a very high feeling with their "tank". Because here the control is difficult, since many training have to follow the sensation of the athletes, we need to teach them the relation between level of fatigue, type of training and effects. Personally, I think that, if a top Kenyan could maintain his mental qualities (aggressivity, ability in suffering, high level of fatigue)training with more control in Europe, the WR could be under 2:02 in short time. But if we move for one year a Kenyan to Europe, he cant be concentrated 100% for so long time. So, our training is a compromise between what is technically the best way, and what is possible REALLY to do.
I'm not use to do previews about top events, since I can know very well the situation of my athletes, but not exactly the situation of the other competitors. However, because I don't have any athlete in London, I can give my impressions, knowing that probably, at the end, everything can be different. I know that Martin Lel is in very good shape (but also Robert and Evans Cheruiyot were in good shape before Boston...), probably better than last year. I don't know the shape of Zersenay Tadese, but I know his coach (the Spanish Jeronimo Bravo), and together they NEVER failed any competition. So, I think Tadese very much competitive, and, knowing his character, I think that he can "make" the race, together Wanjiru, in front, at a very fast pace. I don't see Samuel Wanjiru in the same shape of last year, but may be he decided to save energies in training. In any case, I don't see him as possible winner. Nobody spoke of Gharib, but he is in the best shape of his life. He ran a PB in HM (59:58) 40 days ago, and didn't have any problem during his preparation. If you think that, before Beijing, he had a lot of problems and his preparation was no more than 70% of what he needed, you can imagine Gharib around 2:05, also motivated for the partecipation of Goumri (they have to show who is the best Maroccan). Frankly, I don't think Kebede has some chance to win. For me, the final result is a game between Lel and Tadese, with some opportunity for Wanjiru and Gharib. I see the others at a lower level. About Shami, he is still recovering "pole pole" from the injury that had one month before OG. Now his shape is still poor (he ran HM in Nice last Sunday in 62:07), but is in full training, looking directly to WCh in Berlin. Due to Tadese expecially, I think that the winner must run under 2:05. The WR is difficult, but not impossible.
In my experience, also athletes not fully professional can have advantage using "Special Blocks". Of course, the intensity and the volume must be related to the other part of training. So, if an athlete with an average of 30 km per day can use special blocks of 50 or more km, an amateur having an average of 12 km per day can use a Special Block till 30-35 km. But Special Blocks are not only for Marathon runners. We had Special Blocks of VOLUME (for example, 10km at 90% of MP + 20 km at MP both in the morning and in the afternoon), MIXED (10 km at 90% of MP + 10 km at 102% of MP in the morning, 10 km at 90% of MP + 12 x 1000m at 105% with 1'30" recovery in the afternoon), or specific for short distances (Special Block for 800m : 30' easy run + 10 x 600m at 87-90% of the speed of 800m with 2' recovery (in the case of a runner 1'44" : pace for 600m is 1'18" (78"), 10% of the time is 7"8, 1'18" + 7"8 = 1'25"8)in the morning, 30' easy run + 4 x 400m at 105% of the speed of the race with 6' / 8' recovery (in the above case, 1'44" pace is 52" for 400m, and 5% is 2"6. So, in this case, 4 x 400m in 49"4 rec. 6'). I saw every athlete growing a lot in his shape after using this type of training. But the athletes must not do the mistake to arrive to a Special Block tired, and have to recover very well.