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Renato Canova on Letsrun

February 17, 2012

From: HOW COULD STEVE CRAM RUN 1:42 WITH ONLY 49.1 400m SPEED?

It’s funny to see these discussions, similar what happens in the Italian TV about soccer. Everybody knows better than the coaches what they have to do.

The problem with a calculator (I don’t say it is good or bad) is that we can have a vision of the HYPOTHETICAL POTENTIALITY OF AN ATHLETE, without considering the most important factor : his type of training.

In September 2004, Brussels meeting, after the WR of Shaheen in steeple and a good race of 3000m flat (Kipchoge 7’27” and Kwalia 7’28”), I went in the warm-up area, for looking at my athletes, and I met Richard Limo (World Champion of 5000m). He asked me : “Renato, how is the race this evening ?”, and I answered “Richard, I think they can run a little faster than 27′. I have Ahmed Hassan in good shape, and Mark Bett and John Korir, looking for something like this, so I told the pacers to go for 13’28” about at 5k”. And Richard said : “Very good, this’ my goal too, BECAUSE I’M IN VERY GOOD SHAPE”.

The race was exactly how we planned, with something a little under 13’30” at 5k. For 7 km, all my athletes, plus Kamathi, were together, Richard included. But in the last 3 km Richard lost contact, and was lapped (26’58” for Ahmed Hassan winner, 26’59” Kamathi, 27’02” Bett, 27’07” Korir and… 28’19” Richard Limo !). After one week, Richard won Berlin Golden League in 5000m in 12’56”, SO HE WAS REALLY IN SHAPE… but shape for 5000m, not for 10000m !.

So, what everybody here has to understand is that, same remaining the talent of an athlete, THE DIFFERENCE IN THEIR PERFORMANCES DEPENDS ON THEIR TRAINING, and you can’t train all the qualities at the same time.

The sitiation of Steve Cram is very clear :

1. Of course he could run faster than his official PB of 49″1, but probably not very much faster than 48″, BECAUSE HIS ATTITUDE WAS TO HAVE A VERY HIGH AEROBIC POWER, that is the base for developing the ANAEROBIC RESISTANCE, and had a normal ANAEROBIC (or LACTIC) POWER.

2. When junior, he became European Champion in Bydgoszcz ’79 in 3000m, showing his main attitude and preparation when young was in direction of Aerobic Power.

3. Which this base, he was able to run in training 10 times 300m in 39″ with 30″ / 40″ of recovery (100m jogging), THAT IS A TRAINING DEPENDING ON THE AEROBIC POWER AND ANAEROBIC RESISTANCE, nothing to do with the LACTIC POWER AND THE ANAEROBIC CAPACITY (In this field he was not strong like other athletes).

4. Who instead comes from 400m (for example, Juantorena, or Billy Konchellah, or Marcello Fiasconaro, or Tim Courtney, or Luciano Susanj, or in the past Rudolf Harbig, or for women Jarmila Kratochvilova), has a very high LACTIC POWER, and his training has to stay more in direction of LACTIC CAPACITY (that means, for example, running 3 times 600m close to the passage of the race, with 8′ / 10′ of recovery).

All the other things are pure specualation, and in Athletic we can’t develop anybody using the system “May be”. We don’t have to look at “May be”, but at “What we have to do because you can reach your best, and especially your best in the event that can give you the best opportunities in the international field”.

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