Posted by: Joe English | January 17, 2012

Racing — Coach Joe’s Notes to the Olympic Marathon Trials Athletes

running-advice-bugI’m not Facebook friends with all of the athletes that figured prominently in this past weekend’s 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials, but if I were I’m sure each of them would have posted something on their wall about their performances. I would have then perhaps taken a moment to comment on their performances. Not just a “good job” but a few of the thoughts that crossed my mind as I watched the race. So today, here are my comments to some of the standouts at the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials.

Dear Ryan — Ryan, oh Ryan. We love you brother. You are our fastest marathon runner. In fact, you were minutes faster than any American runner last year and you’re sitting on something like a four minute gap over everyone else in between your PR and theirs. We get it that you don’t like to “run in back”, but you seem to keep doing the same thing over again. You get out in front and lead the race from the start and then don’t quite have it at the end. Here’s all I’m saying: when you’re sitting on like a four minute differential in your PR over everyone else in the race, maybe let the other guys lead and save it for the last two miles. Then bust out that great speed and take it home. Granted, things will be different at the Olympics where there will be much faster people in the field. But you are a great talent and still young. You can race to make the difference between first and second.

Dear Shalane — Shalane, the people of Portland are really proud of you. You were facing the probably the toughest competition ever in a US Olympic Trials and you were far from the most experienced runner in the bunch. A lot of people were thinking that experience would trump the young speed in the field. I wasn’t one of those people. I knew it was going to come down to the new faces. I admit that I had picked Desi to take the win, but I would have put money on you to win, place or show. You looked great out there. Your form is picture perfect. With more experience at the marathon distance you are going to be unstoppable. Nice work!

Dear Meb— Meb, I met your dad once. Ever since, I’ve been a huge fan. You were such an inspirational American story before this win, but this just really tops it. Now you can add “comeback” to the resume. You looked so strong out there in the last miles. When other people were falling apart, you had it. You looked great on the hills in New York the last couple of outings as well. Despite Ryan’s speed, you really are the strongest American marathon runner right now. What you have is the combination of strength and strategic thinking that it takes to win. You’ve shown that you can perform on tough, hilly courses like New York and Athens with international competition. The question is how will you do in London? Thrilling I’m sure!

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