12 Minutes With Dathan Ritzenhein Before the Olympic Marathon Trials: “The training I had for [the] 7- or 8-week period was as good as any marathon training I’ve done before”

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by LetsRun.com
February 11, 2016

We’re going to be doing our 2016 Marathon Trials Preview Podcast today (Thursday) and in the process spoke to Dathan Ritzenhein for 12 minutes on Wednesday (and Meb Keflezighi for 15).

We told Dathan we’d only take five minutes of his time, but fortunately for track fans it ended up being 12.

Dathan said his preparations in cold Michigan have gone well for the Trials. A little extra motivation for Dathan is that he has never won a marathon in his storied career. He said he does not want to leave it to a kick with Galen Rupp.

HighlightsTraining is Going Great

Training is Going Great “I can’t complain about the last two months…. I’ve been really happy in general. I had some hip bursitis early on in November, that was bothering me a little bit… I got over that and I’d say I had 10 really good weeks before this… The training I had for [the] seven- or eight-week period was as good as any marathon training I’ve done before, [including the] 2:07 in Chicago in 2012 and Boston [2015].”

Dathan Ritzenhein after Chicago 2013

Dathan Ritzenhein after Chicago 2013

On Departing from Alberto Salazar and Moving Back to Michigan to be Self-Coached: “I try and work it in my normal life – having a family and all of that…  I think more than anything I wanted to come home. We wanted to be back so bad… With kids if you don’t do it, you don’t do it…. I think maybe the passion wasn’t as strong. I just wanted that change. It really lit a fire back under me, [having] a new challenge, coaching myself…. I’m glad I did it. I feel the fire is there as strong as ever which is important. You can’t really fake it. It’s a lifestyle as much as anything. You’ve got to want it and you’ve got to enjoy what you are doing.”

On Having Galen Rupp in the Trials: “I think having Galen in the race as a late entry is definitely a very interesting addition. I don’t think it changes my approach to the race at all because once the gun goes off there are no favorites… You have to make it happen.. If it doesn’t happen on that day then potential and expectation doesn’t mean anything… Obviously I’m not going to want him around the last quarter mile just as much I wouldn’t want to let Meb get away early on in the race… I think I’m a student enough of the sport to know most of the strengths and weaknesses of most of the competitors I’m going to be running against so I’ve had to decide in my mind who do I key off… The names go out the window once the race starts.”

On Never Having Won a Marathon: “That is true, I’ve never broken the tape in a marathon. I can’t think of a better time to do it. I’ve put all my emotional energy into this race and it means a lot to me. I just want to make the team I guess… but being able to cross the line first I’ve got say is up there as well…I’m going in thinking I can win it.”

Instead of making you wait for the podcast we decided to post the audio of our Q&A with Dathan below.

If you’d like to download Ritz’s interview instead click here.

Thanks to our advertising partner Generation UCAN for helping make Ritz available. We told UCAN we’d love to talk to Ritz before the Trials and next thing you know we were speaking to both Ritz and Meb Keflezighi.  If you’re going to be in LA for the Trials, both Ritz and Meb Keflezighi will be at a Generation UCAN event open to the public Saturday afternoon after the Trials.


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