Alberto Salazar On Galen Rupp's Training And 2011 Season Plan

January 11, 2011

While in Edinburgh for the BUPA Great Edinburgh Cross-Country race, we talked to Alberto Salazar (video available below). Yesterday we told you what Alberto had to say about Dathan Rizenhein's training and Dathan's training prior to New York in 2010, and we also broke the story that Ritzenhein will run the 2011 Virgin London Marathon.

Today we wanted to highlight some of the things Alberto said about Galen Rupp. Alberto has coached Galen from the time Galen was in high school and has guided him to the #2 time ever at 10,000m in the US. The full interview from our talk on Saturday is below but we wanted to point out a few things.

Two Distinct Seasons In 2011 For Galen Will Make 2011 Very Different From 2009 And 2010

Month 2009 2010
Jan 1:51.33 800m 3:56 mile
Feb 13:18.12 13:14.21 AR
March NCAA 3k, 5k, DMR 7:42 World Indoors
April 28:28 10k 13:32 5k
May PAC-10, Reg Doubles

27:10.74 #2  US Ever 10k

June NCAA 5k/10k, 27:52.53 to win USATFs USATF 10,000m Title
July No Races 13:10.05 5k
Aug. 27:37.99 Worlds 13:07.35 5k

The last two years, Galen has had very long track seasons and performed at a very high level for months on end. In 2009, Galen was in his final year at Oregon and he competed almost nonstop from January through August, amassing 22 races. Along the way, he had his perfect NCAA season with 6 NCAA titles, and then made the US 10k team for Worlds. Last year, Rupp's season was just as long and just as consistent with races in every month from January until August (18 races during that time frame). He set an American record indoors at 5k in February, ran World Indoors in March, ran 27:10 for 10k in early May, won the US 10k title in June and ran 13:07 for 5k in August. Amazing. Looking at the chart on the right, which shows Rupp's top mark the last two years by month, you see how consistently Galen has been able to perform at a tremendously high level for 7-8 months in a row during each of the last two years.

If you've wondered whether the length of Galen's seasons may have been limiting his peak a little bit, apparently you're not alone. This year, Alberto is planning for things to be different for Galen. The plan is to have a distinct indoor season which will include a few top notch races in Europe and then for there to be a break from running and racing. Then Rupp will have a distinct outdoor season with the focus being the World Championships in Daegu, Korea.

As Alberto said, "I  don't like the idea of just having one peak a year, you get stale." He added, "If this winter season goes well, we'll follow the same format (for when Galen has down time): we'll take two weeks off, (then) two weeks of jogging, then at that point I think we still have 5 months of training (until Worlds)." Looking at the calendar, Worlds are the last week of August, so that means if Galen competes through February indoors, he then has March off and easy and then the five month buildup for Worlds. Of course, he has to make the Worlds team first and the US Trials this year are June 23-26, so that would give Galen three months to prepare to make the US team.

Galen is only 24, but he's trained at a very high level since he was a high schooler. If you think there may not be much left in terms of training improvements for Galen, think again. Alberto said last year Rupp only averaged 80 miles a week when he was in full training mode (not counting weeks off). There are no plans for radical changes, but Alberto has left room for improvement. He said, "Every year we try and do stuff a little bit better. We don't try and change everything too much, (for example) add too much mileage, that (just) gives you short term results." Alberto said bluntly on the mileage, "Last year he only averaged 80 miles a week ... That's not enough."

Galen To Run More Mileage
Alberto said Rupp's highest 10-week stretch of miles last year averaged 90 miles a week. He then said, "This year we're doing 110 now and he's already feeling a lot stronger. Someday he'll be at 120 or 130. Not next year. We'll do it gradually."

More does not always mean better, but in our minds - given how little he's run in the past - the future for Rupp appears to still have a lot of upside.

As for Rupp's race in Edinburgh, Alberto was happy with it and felt it went pretty much as expected.  "I think it was a good experience for Galen ... He doesn't believe he is as good in cross-country as he is in track."

Galen said the immediate plan is to perhaps run a low-key indoor race or two in the Pacific Northwest and then run the Millrose Games and then "run some fast races over in Europe later in the winter." Galen said of being able to train and not race as much, "I think having a good block when you can focus on training and not have to worry about running a bunch of races is good."  Video of Alberto and Galen's interviews are both below. Galen's interview is less focused on his training.

Alberto Salazar On Galen Rupp's Training And Race In Edinburgh
He also discusses Dathan Ritzenhein's marathon training - for more on that, click here.

Galen Rupp On His Second-Place Finish In 2011 And His Plans For Indoors

*LRC  Alberto On Ritz's Marathon Training

More Edinburgh: *LRC Team Race: Mo Farah Over Galen Rupp, Europe Over USA
*LRC International Races: Kipchoge Over Kiprop, Masai Over Cheruiyot
*More LRC Edinburgh Interviews: Galen Rupp, Mo Farah, Bobby Mack, Stephen Furst, Matt Gabrielson, Scott Bauhs

Disclosure: Nova International, the organizers of the Great Edinburgh race, paid for's Weldon Johnson's travel and accommodations to attend the 2011 Great Edinburgh XC Race from his vacation in Spain.


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