Ten Training Tips from Bernard Lagat, Dathan Ritzenhein, and Abdi Abdirahaman

By LetsRun.com

Yesterday was the American men’s media day at the 2013 NYC Half Marathon as American stars Bernard Lagat, Abdi Abdirahman, and Dathan Ritzenhein all addressed the media.

LRC sat down with Bernard, Abdi and Dathan and you can see 8-12 minute videos with each of them (click on the links above).

In the course of talking to Bernard, Abdi and Dathan we realized that in talking about their own training they had a lot of training tips that apply universally to running. So without further ado here at the top 10 training tips from Bernard Lagat, Abdi Abdirahman, and Dathan Ritzenhein as determined by LRC.

Top Ten Training Tips from Bernard Lagat, Dathan Ritzenhein, and Abdi Abdirahaman

1) Staying Healthy is Your #1 Objective – Ritz, Lagat, and Abdi
Abdi, Bernard, and Dathan have all had tremendous success and gone about it very differently. One thing is common for all of them, the importance of staying healthy. They have had varying degrees of success at staying healthy and how they go about it. Lagat is notorious for not running a lot of miles. What has it done for him? Made him have an unbelievably long career. Abdi Abdirahman has run a ton of 120 mile weeks, but said he is constantly on the “red-line” of staying healthy and getting injured. And Dathan Ritzenhein has been injury plagued throughout his career. He now realizes it would be better to do too little than too much. He said, “For me, just getting to the line healthy is important.” Running is really about how much you can train while staying healthy.

2) A Good Base is Essential: ”You benefit from getting in enough volume at the beginning of your training” – Bernard Lagat

Much has been made of Bernard Lagat making his half-marathon debut despite never even having run a 10k on the roads or the track. Lagat wants to run under 61 minutes on Sunday. Throughout his career, Bernard has been known for running lower mileage, but that does not mean he doesn’t appreciate the importance of a base. He said, “You benefit from getting in enough volume at the beginning of your training.” Lagat’s ultimate goal for 2013 is not Sunday’s half-marathon, but the World Championship 5,000m final in Moscow in August (see point #3), and the half-marathon is part of him trying to get a bigger base this year.

3) Don’t Forget the Big Goal – Bernard Lagat
Lagat’s goal for the season is to win the World Championship at 5,000m over Mo Farah and Galen Rupp. So no matter how he does on Sunday, he’s not going to forget the bigger picture, that his training is going well for his longer term goal. He said, “Whether I do well or not here, I feel like I’ve done good training and that is the training I have needed.”

4) Check Your Pride at the Door: “The workouts aren’t the competition.” – Abdi Abdirahman and ”Know when you’re getting your butt kicked it’s ok.”-Ritz  
Dathan Ritzenhein trains with two of the greatest long-distance track runners in the world, Galen Rupp and Mo Farah. What do they do? Drill him on the track a lot. Dathan said he knows he has to check his pride at the door when they do a track workout. He said part of his mindset is: “Know when you’re getting your butt kicked it’s ok.”

Similarly, Abdi Abdirahman works out with Bernard Lagat and former NCAA champ Stephen Sambu. Abdi was asked who beats who in practice and Abdi said that was not what it was about. He said, “the workouts aren’t the competition…You run your own workout. If you’re not feeling good and someone is feeling really good and you can’t stay with them, you don’t have to feel bad.” Conversely on his good days Abdi is not afraid to “go for it” and drop whoever he is working out with. Winning the workout is not the objective. Abdi said the objective is finding the “good pace, (the) good rhythm.”

Abdi noted sometimes he’ll workout with Bernard Lagat and Lagat will do 5x mile while Abdi does 7x mile. The point being Lagat is fine doing less than Abdi. Are you fine doing less than your workout partner?

Read the next five training tips. 


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