Now I am in Italy, arrived last Friday for 5 Mulini. Today I was in San Vittore Olona, where Stephen Cherono won the race falling down before the last lap, when already had about 80m of gap on Boniface Kiprop. The course was dry and flat, so the conditions were good for Shaheen, that doesn't like mud. This one was the last test before World Cross Country Championships, also if I have the idea to put him in long cross in Nairobi next Saturday for the last test of long endurance (but it depends on his recovery in the next days).
Regarding Sergey, he doesn't run any indoor this year. Last year he wanted to run indoors, but I didn't agree, so I refused to make programs for a strategy that I could not agree. After the bad past season, Sergey came back to the old system : cross season finding the top shape for European Ch. in December, and then trying to maintain the same level for January and the beginning of February. Today Sergey won in Caceres in Spain, where second was Sultan Zaman, my Qatari athlete that is growing very well in the training camp in Iten, Kenya. For him this was the first competition of the year, he will run yet next Sunday in Luxemburg or Belgium, then he will come back to Iten where we stay with all Qatar team till 15th of March. Today, n. 4 was James Kwalia, also him in Iten. From the same group, regarding ladies, today I had in Caceres the Ugandian Dorcus Inzikuru, winner, and in 5 Mulini Rita Jeptoo (3rd on Saturday in European Cup and 3rd again today) and Florence Barsosio (only n. 11), in Italy for running next Sunday in Italian Club Championships.
Sergey will run yet next week in Italian Club Championships, then goes back to Ukraine for preparing World Cross Country Ch. (12 km). He has the goal to increase his endurance at high intensity, because is very fast in the final if the race doesn't start very fast, but finds some difficulty in following the pace if the speed at the beginning is very high. For reaching this goal, he has to develop his power-endurance using long intervals at high speed, or long fartlek (for example : 2 times 6:00 + 2 times 5:00 + 2 times 4:00 + 2 times 3:00 + 6 times 1:00 very fast, recovery 3:00 moderate pace and 1:00 between the minutes fast). Sergey normally runs a lot of km not fast, going for short distances on track. This is a system that doesn't allow to increase the specific endurance too much : we need to use long and fast distances for increasing this quality. That's the reason because he is very good when the course is muddy. The mud reduces the opportunity to run fast, and always is an advantage for athletes not very strong in long endurance at high speed. This happened in Oostend 2001, when Sergey was 2nd with a lot of mud, but for being competitive in dry conditions (like probably this year) he needs more specific endurance, his very good strength endurance is not enough.
Regarding Boniface Kiprop, he now goes home for preparing long run in WCCCh, and from 15th of February has to chose between Iten and Nakuru where preparing the race. In Iten I have the other Ugandian athlete (his old brother Martin Toroitich that yesterday won National Championships, and Wilson Busienei that is very strong on track), with also Dorcus Inzikuru that will run short race at WCCCh. Boniface competed every week, and now needs a period of hard training for reaching a better shape.
Regarding the fact that many athletes train 3 times a day, I want to explain to European and American runners that really their sessions are 2, with a third very early in the morning but also very slow. I told that with Shaheen we tried to use 2 sessions of good quality very close in the same morning, but I preferred to change after 40 days because it was very difficult to recover, and the general volume had to decrease for permitting this type of strategy. My plan for Shaheen during the last month is to go to 3 times a day for the first 5 days of the week, then only one session on Saturday and full rest on Sunday. This is the same type of training that he used during the last month before the World Record of steeple last year. But, for being able to work so hard for 3 weeks, he needs to be at 80% of the shape without pushing too much in the 3 previous months of training.
Regarding Nicholas Kemboi, he is in training from the beginning of January, but yet far from a good shape. In any case, is now motivated, and I think that can run well from the next month of May.
At the moment, inside my Kenyan group, the faster is Moses Mosop, that didn't want to run WCCCh but, after winning last week very well in Portugal, changed idea (also for my pressure) and tries to qualify for World Cross, being probably dry (he's not good when is muddy). Instead, John Korir had a lot of problems, and is not in good condition. He can qualify in any case for Kenyan team, but has to solve an ulcer that disturbs him very much when has to push for long time. Anyway, from next week the training becomes harder and more specific.