Galen Rupp Talks After Setting The 10,000 American Record Of 26:48.00
Rupp's Focus For 2012 Is Simple - Get Better
September 20, 2011
We just got off the 2 pm (ET) USATF teleconference with Galen Rupp to celebrate his new 26:48.00 American 10,000 record. A lot of the big names in the world of running journalism were on the call, so one can certainly expect to see it covered in a number of places in the coming days. Here is a flash recap:
The call had a few humorous moments, as at one point a reporter asked why World Championships times were so slow and Rupp had to explain the whole concept of rabbits. The call also started off a little bit humorously in our minds, as it began with the USATF communications person asking Rupp if he knew what the American record was prior to his 26:48.00 performance in Brussels and if he was focused on that in Brussels.
Galen seemingly chuckled at the obvious nature of the question and then responded as follows:
"Going in, I definitely thought I had a good shot of bettering that. I was obviously really happy with the result. I just tried to put it (the time) out of my head. Towards the end, with about 600 meters to go, I saw what the time was and at that point, I was able to figure out I was going to do something special."
Galen was then asked if he hadn't put up the big time in Brussels would he still have considered his 2011 season to be successful.
"I definitely would have thought it was still successful," said Rupp. "I was really disappointed that I wasn't able to run in Eugene so to get another chance - to get a chance to end the year on a high note - was something really great."
Many of the reporters seemed pre-occupied with the fact that since Rupp had finished 8th in the 2009 World Champs and 7th this year, that without the 26:48.00 time, his 2011 season wouldn't have been a big success. But Rupp, who had defeated World XC champion Imane Merga in a 5,000 prior to Worlds and run a 60:30 half marathon this year as well, was rightly having none of it.
"Looking at the World Championships meet and the way that went, I felt the way I competed there, being there until the last lap (was a big breakthrough) ... When I look at what I did this year - 7th (at Worlds) and 8th last time - it doesn't look that much different, but I'm there at the end now. Now it's a matter of just really getting that last lap down," said Rupp who was with the leaders until the bell in 2011 in both the 10,000 and 5,000, but was dropped before 14 laps were over in the Berlin 10,000 in 2009.
"I think tactically I ran pretty well. I just ran out of gas, so tactically I don't think there is that much there (to work on)."
"Mo (Farah) told me - 'Sometimes it just takes time.' He said he had 3 or 4 World Championships where he thought he was ready to do something big but he ended up getting 5th or 6th or 7th. You just have to look at this rationally and realize that sometimes it just takes time."
"I really think for me one of the limiting factors is still strength. I'm not doing as much as (my competitors) volume wise - we've always done a real gradual approach in upping my mileage - fearing a risk of injury. This is the first year I've been close to doing what they've been doing ... They've been probably running 110 to 120 for several years in a row and I've just been doing it for one year now."
When asked what does he need to do to get even better and earn a medal, Rupp was clear in his answer.
"Our mantra has always been just keep getting better every year and keep chipping away at the gap between us and the top guys."
When asked about his kick, Rupp had the following to say: "It's definitely easier to kick in a 28-minute race than it is to kick off a really fast pace. We've always worked on my raw speed throughout my career. I just have to keep working on my strength and tap into that in these really big races. Sometimes it just takes time - years and years - of doing strength work."
"We're just going to keep working on the same things - working on the bottom raw speed and strength. I mean Alberto (Salazar) says Usain Bolt has the best raw speed out there but that doesn't mean he'd be a good 800-meter runner."
Rupp said he and training partner Mo Farah are both enjoying a bit of down time right now - two weeks completely off - before they begin training again in October.
The conversation then turned to the marathon. Rupp said the he definitely wants to run one down the road, but it certainly didn't seem like there was any possibility that the 2012 US Olympic Trials in the marathon were in the cards, as he said, "It's more a matter of timing and I'll let Alberto and my coaches worry about that."
Rupp admitted that in the past that training for the marathon seemed to him to be a bit daunting, as it would require a lot of strength work and that he likes racing on the track, but he said the last year his increased training volume and his successful 60:30 debut at the 13.1 half-marathon distance in New York in March have made him look forward to his eventual 26.2 mile debut. "This past year has got me excited about running one."
Rupp was also full of praise for the setup he enjoys in Oregon.
"I've got who think is the best coach in the world in Alberto Salazar and I'm training with the best runner in the world in Mo Farah, so I'm blessed."
A reporter seemingly tried to make an issue of Salazar's post-Brussels comments that larger Caucasian athletes like Rupp are at a disadvantage in hot weather races like Worlds by asking Rupp flat out if it was a disadvantage to be a white guy. Rupp did a great job of answering the question professionally and in a way that won't get him in trouble with the PC police.
"I don't think it has anything to do with being white. His point is just that I'm bigger than these guys. My mom always laughs because she says it's easy to see me as I'm 4 or 5 inches taller than everyone else. When you're running in the heat, that can catch up to you."
"I agree with the sentiment (expressed by Salazar). Bigger people don't do better in running in the heat for longer distances - its' a scientific fact."
Rupp then spent a lot of time talking about the respect he has for his training partner in world 5,000 champion Mo Farah.
"In terms of our temperament, we're real similar. He's more relaxed than I am. I think of my self as easy going but he's by far the most relaxed and easy going guy I've ever met. He's lost his wallet on a trip and you didn't see an ounce of stress on him. He's a real positive guy as well."
"We don't talk about running a lot outside of practice. We'll talk about the Premiere League and different things like that."
The good news for US distance fans is it was clear from the interview that occasionally Rupp does get the better of the world champion Farah in workouts, as Rupp said, "Neither of us takes it personally when another guy pulls away in a workout. We've got such a good chemistry and we don't have big discrepancies between our workloads, so we pretty much feel he same (most days)," said Rupp. "I remember in the first two weeks he was here I was feeling good in a workout, and he had been leading. He said, 'Just go past me.'"
"I would not be where I am today if he hadn't come this past year."
At one point, Rupp was asked about whether he felt it was weird his training partner competes for another country and Rupp said not at all and that he thought it was great there were a lot of guys competing well all over the globe. Rupp then said it was good there were "a lot of guys in this country" that are running well and specifically gave Chris Solinsky some praise.
We do have some bad news to report for a select few Americans. If you are an Olympic hopeful for the US for 5,000, there is some bad news, as Rupp said he's planning on doubling at the 2012 Olympic Games.
"I think it's a real good possibility that I do that ... If things go well, I'd say there's a real good chance I do that again."
Until then, the Rupp and Salazar mantra seems to be simple. Rupp just wants to get better.
"I just really try to look at getting better every year. We just gotta get better every year."