Zersenay Tadesse (Eritrea)Preparation of a champion.
The past October 24 and 25, I had the opportunity to travel to the XVI Jornadas Técnicas in Madrid. In these coaching conferences was Jerónimo Bravo, the coach of Zersenay Tadesse. I would like to share an abstract of his conference/lecture, that was one of the most interesting about the training of another great athlete.
Zersenay Tadesse, born in Adi Bana, Eritrea on February 8, 1982. 2007 World XC Champion, Silver medal 10000 m (26:50.12) Berlin 2009, Bronce medal 10000 m Athens 2004, 5th place 10000 m Beijing 2008
4 times IAAF World Half marathon Champion:
59:16 Rotterdam '06
58:59 Udine '07
59:56 Río de Janeiro '08
59:35 Birmingham '09
Results in IAAF World Cross Country Championships
1st. Mombasa '07
3rd. Amman '09
Personal bests: 3000m 7:39.93, 5000m 12:59.27, 10000m 26:37.25, half marathon 58:59.
Jerónimo Bravo is probably the Spanish coach that has achieved more medals in major global events. His athlete has won medals in cross country, track and road racing in the same season, for example in this year Zersenay was world champion in half marathon, world silver 10,000 m in Berlin and bronze medal in world cross country.
Zersenay started to RUN at age 20 in January 2002 and to TRAIN shortly after has been working with Jerónimo since the beginning. At that time was relatively young, with superb qualities, he had to become an athlete first and to get know him both the physical and the personal. If his conditions for the races are exceptional human quality is too. Easy to success and failure, hard-working and professional to the extreme, solidarity and team man who assumes the role of figure in Eritrea remains a model for his 7 brothers, young people and the rest of his countrymen. Besides, he is very grateful to his coach.
Athlete and coach are working on a project that spans from 2004 to 2012 with different training goals, consolidation and culmination in the marathon in the 2012 Olympic Games.
Technically has a great efficiency in a race, and "born" to run the marathon. In training they prefer to run less quantity (volume) but with high quality and, from there, increasing the amount up to 165 or 170 km per week without reducing the speed (2:50/km or 4:32 per mile). These runs are also supported by the increase in strength with hills, drag runs, exercises with his own bodyweight, some light weights, but very specific and aimed at the race.
In the 2008-2012 cycle he will move to the marathon and road races and, indeed, has recently proclaimed World Champion in Half Marathon (11 October 2009 in Birmingham), resulting the 4th consecutive time. They are increasing the quality significantly, and the also quantity up to 200 km per week
Training cycles before Berlin 2009.
After 10 days without being able to train to retrieve a viral problem prior to London Marathon and a small foot injury arose during the race, the following periods were organized:
5 weeks in Eritrea since late April to early June.
Approximately 150 km on average, 3 sessions quality sessions in cycles of 9 days.
6 weeks in Madrid from mid June to end of July. Test of 5000 m in 13:07 (Malaga meeting), in week of high load of volume 180 km. With 5 intense training sessions in the last cycle of 12 days.
4 weeks training in Eritrea prior to Berlin traveling directly from Asmara.
They maintain volume of km and increase intensities at altitude.
Follow the same structure of 5 loads of intensity in cycles of 12 days. (20 sessions)
July 2006. 3 x 5 x 500 m in 1:09-1:10 with 2 min recovery and 4 min between sets
September 2006, just before Rotterdam Half Marathon
2 x 3000 m in 7:57 and 8:00 +3 x 1000 m in 2:32 at Villahermoso stadium in Madrid
December 2007 (place Garabitos forest) 3 x 4000 m in 10:41, 10:39, 10:37, with 5 weeks of training, the following week he ran the Vallecana 10 k race below 27:00 min.
5 x 2000 m under 5:20 with 3 min recovery in Casa de Campo Park, Madrid.
February 2007 (Asmara, Eritrea)
Test of 10,000 m below 28 in training
3 x 6 x 600 m in 1:28-1:29 with 2 min recovery and 4 min bet sets.
8 x 1000 m + 400 m with 2 min recovery in 2:37 and 59 seg
He is a very professional athlete, that year 2007, a month later, was world champion in cross country in Mombasa. They went to celebrate at a dinner in Madrid and Zersenay was nervous because he had to go to rest to restart training the next day. It was only 9:00 PM.
They both believe that his future is in the Marathon in 2012.
There are more details but I hope this could start some technical debate among athletes and coaches (CANOVA and others).
(I must remind you that Spanish is my native language and you may find some mistakes).