Dathan Ritzenhein Talks About the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials and His Track Ambitions

By LetsRun.com
November 5, 2011

The biggest news from the inaugural NYRR Dash to the Finish Line 5k (recap and results here) was that Dathan Ritzenhein ran well (3rd place, 13:56) and he showed that his double foot surgery in March is behind him and his preparations for the Olympic Trials Marathon in ten weeks are going well.

After the race, we spoke to Ritz and he had some interesting things to say about his marathon training and his desire to still run fast on the track. If you have time, you can watch the full interview at the bottom of this page, but we now present to you some of the highlights from the interview.

Ritz Pleased With the Race

On racing the 5k today, Ritz said the race itself does not mean much in terms of his marathon preparation but mentally it was important to race again as he hadn't raced since last year's ING New York City Marathon.

"It was more mental than anything to just get out there again after a whole year off... For the first race back in a while with the heavy training I'm pretty happy with it." said Ritz.

Ritz's Marathon Training: "I'm about where I would be normally or a little bit better in marathon training."

With 10 weeks until the US Olympic Marathon Trials, the race and Ritz's comments afterwards showed his fitness is good and his preparation are going well. Ritz said he has done some faster 20 mile runs, which he called as being "between a long run and a tempo run" and that "I'm about where I would be normally or a little bit better in marathon training."

Ritz said he will start the hard marathon tempo runs this week and do them every 10 days for the next 7 weeks, increasing the distance. Ritz has the luxury of training with World 5000m Champion Mo Farah and American 10k record holder Galen Rupp under the tutelage of former NYC champ Alberto Salazar. Rupp and Farah have resumed their training after a break after the track season and are "rapidly catching him in fitness".

62 Minute Half Marathon in Practice

There likely will not be any races from Ritz, but he anticipates doing 62 minute half-marathons in practice. Ritz said he can do something, "not completely all out, something to push the envelope a little but. Something like 62 minutes. If I'm in 61 minute shape, a 62 minutes effort in practice- that's enough to get the general purpose out of it without having to go to a race."

"The talent's still there. I'm still young... I think I can run what Galen and Mo did this year in the 10k."

Rupp and Farah not only help Ritz by giving him training partners, but their success this year has helped him mentally. Ritz said, "It's huge for me for my confidence."  And then he added, "It's been a couple of years (since I ran 12:56) but the talent's still there. I'm still young. I'm 28 so hopefully I just keep getting better. 

Ritz indicated he still has big ambitions on the track saying, "I still have a lot of ambition to run faster in the 10k. 12:56 I would be happy with that as a pr. I think I can run what Galen and Mo did this year in the 10k."

Ritz is hopeful that his track racing will be put off until 2013 because his plans for 2012 are the Olympic Marathon Trials and then the Olympic Marathon. He said if he ends up running track in 2012 it will be because he didn't make the Olympics in the marathon. Ritz knows the biggest challenge for him is to get to the line in Houston ten weeks from now healthy. "If I can show up to the race in good shape and healthy that's better than being a little banged up." Ritz is well aware that he has to thread line between pushing hard enough in practice to get fitter and staying healthy.

He said, "10 weeks to go I've got plenty of time to get in shape."

Full Interview with Ritz below. Brief recap of race with results and interview with Sara Hall here.

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