I am inclined to believe that without the pressure of peaking for a championship season, Alan Webb is in the perfect position to get his confidence back with some sick times and a return to dominance over the rest of the US middle distance runners.
What are your predictions for Alan's season? I'll start:
I'd expect Alan to start with races under the mile, maybe two or three 800s. I would expect him to get down to 1:46-1:47 before really getting into speed work. Remember, he ran 1:49 at his district meet in high school, winning in 6 seconds. He then went on to win the state 800m in 1:47. If he can run those times off of just strength training, which I have no problem believing, then he should be in 3:50 shape by mid-summer.
800m - 1:45.0 or faster
1500m - 3:32 or faster, and I would not be surprised to even see sub 3:30 this season.
5000m - 13:15. I don't expect this to be a focus, but just as Salazar had Rupp race all of those 800s and miles to work on his speed, Alan could benefit from some well-paced 5Ks with guys like Solinsky and Jager where the winner is running 13:00-13:05. I don't think he necessarily needs to win these races to have confidence in his ability to be in position to burn guys in the last 300 of a 1500.
Basically, I'm pumped to see what Webb will do this year. I think anyone who wants to see the US compete for a medal in 2011 and 2012 should be praying that Alan Webb lives up to the promise of his 2007 season, because I don't see many other runners with the raw talent to make it happen.