Mark Wetmore on Jenny Simpson Zurich 5000m: “It’s not a record attempt by any means. Just get in the race and respond to what’s presented to her.”

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by LetsRun.com
August 27, 2013

Editor’s Note: The first of the two Diamond League finals takes place on Thursday with the Weltklasse Zürich meet. There is a great women’s 5000 with Ethiopian stars Meseret Defar and Tirunesh Dibaba and American star Jenny Simpson as well as American record holder Molly Huddle.

Is this an American record attemtp by Simpson? LRC Robert Johnson called Simpson’s coach Mark Wetmore and coach Wetmore called Robert back.  Highlights of the talk with coach Wetmore below.

The first thing LRC wanted to know when talking to Jenny Simpson‘s coach Mark Wetmore this afternoon was whether the Zürich 5000 race was serving as an American record attempt.

“It’s not a record attempt by any means. Just get in the race and respond to what’s presented to her,” said Wetmore.

What might be presented to Jenny is several people running in the 14:30s or faster and several people at just under 15:00 (with a big gap in between. The American record is 14:44.76). What would Simpson do if presented with such a decision?

Simpson has thrived in 2013 after returning to the tutelage of Wetmore

“I’ll agree with you there’s a possibility of there being 4 or 5 people at 14:30 and then a group of people drying to decide what to do. I’ll leave that decision up to her,” said Wetmore. “I’m comfortable with letting Jenn do thin thinking during the race.”

(Editor’s note: Wetmore calls Simpson Jenn).

Wetmore added that Colorado assistant coach Heather Burroughs who co-coaches Simpson with him is in Zürich and that she and Simpson may come up with a plan for the race in response to the conditions and pace-setting instructions given out by the meet.

If the race isn’t an American record attempt, then why is Simpson stepping up in distance to the 5000?

“We like to run a variety of events just to keep from getting bored and Zürich is a fun place and there was not a flat 3000 there. Those three reasons put together,” said Wetmore.

Has Simpson been training for this 5000?

Wetmore said they’ve done “very little 5000 training, maybe by my recollection two workouts this whole season.”

Just Because It’s Not An American Record Attempt That Doesn’t Mean The American Record Wont’ Fall

When asked how fast Simpson could run, Wetmore responded, “She’s very fit and I think she’s in the position to run some very fast times but we’re not pursuing records this season.”

Would the Simpson of 2013 definitely beat the Simpson of old – say the 2009 version who ran her 3:59.90 1500 personal best at Prefontaine?

“To tell you the truth, I can’t tell you that. Her workouts have been very good, but I have not sat down and compared the workouts side by side to 2009.”

What’s Next?

If 2013 isn’t a record chasing year, will 2014, a year with not global championship, be a year Simpson chases marks?

Wetmore indicated that he thought 2014 would indeed be different. He said the plan for 2014 hasn’t been set yet. The Diamond League schedule is set for 2014 in terms of the dates of the meets, however the specific events for each meet haven’t been set and that will obviously have a big impact on Simpson’s goals.

In general, Wetmore thought 2014 would have “more broad preparation” and not the focus of performing well at a single meet like the London Olympics or Moscow World Championships. The goal might be to focus “more on an 8 or 10 week season.”

One thing was made clear. Simpson likely won’t be steepling in 2014.

“When we shook hands (and agreed to renew our partnership), we agreed that the steeple would not be involved in the first year or two,” said Wetmore. When asked if that was a request of one or both of them, Wetmore said they “both felt the same way about it.”

One final question for the distance oriented coach Wetmore. Was he surprised that Simpson has for the time being ended up as a 1500 runner? Did her success at 1500 surprise him or was the plan to always more her down in distance from the steeple?

“I think she surprised me a little bit in 2009, but her successes (this year) have not been a surprise,” said Wetmore.

Don’t Forget Next Week’s Diamond League 1500m Finale in Brussels
As for the immediate future, Wetmore said Simpson is planning on running the 1500 at the Diamond League finale in Brussels. After that, things will be determined on a race by race basis. If she’s still having “fun” should could continue to race (we had asked specifically about the 5th Avenue Mile).

The Women’s 500m is at 2:13pm Eastern on Thursday and will be on live on Universal Sports. For more viewing info click here.

More: LRC Preview of Thursday’s 5000: An Incredible Women’s 5000: Meseret Defar versus Tirunesh Dibaba at last, plus Jenny Simpson versus Molly Huddle and the American Record

Want to relive Jenny’s Silver Medal at Worlds and Mary Cain’s historic run to the final? Click here for our special Worlds 1500m coverage.

Editor’s Note: LRC’s Robert Johnson was college roommates with Chris Lear, author of Running With the Buffaloes the cult running classic on Wetmore’s Colorado program. If you haven’t read the book, read it. And do Chris a favor by buying the digital version instead of a hardcopy. LRC receives a commission from Amazon if you buy from our link above.

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