Teg: “I feel so much more comfortable on the roads than I do the track, and I never thought I’d say that”
October 11, 2013
Chicago, IL – For US distance fans, one of the most anticipated parts of Sunday’s 2013 Bank of America Chicago Marathon is the marathon debut of two-time Olympian Matt Tegenkamp. Tegenkamp was long known as only a 5000 runner so much so that the slogan “Tegenkamp Don’t Run No 10K” was well a known cult-hit on the LetsRun message boards. Then leading into the 2012 Olympic Trials he surprised some with a move to the 10,000. After making the London 10,000 team, he has dabbled in longer road races including the US 20K championships which he won in 2012 and 2013. But now it’s time for Teg to run the full 42.2K in his marathon debut on Sunday.
We sat down with Teg today in Chicago and he shared some of his thoughts ahead of the debut.
Tegenkamp On His Training: “I feel so much more comfortable on the roads than I do the track, and I never thought I’d say that:”
Teg said that training has been going well ahead of his debut. He clearly a lot of confidence in his coach, Jerry Schumacher, who Teg said has never put him in a position where he’s been on the line and not ready fitness-wise to perform. Things have gone so well that he even said “I feel so much more comfortable on the roads than I do the track, and I never thought I’d say that.”
Getting into specifics, Tegenkamp said he’s also taken a lot of confidence from a 22 mile workout he did during this block of training which was 14 miles at 5:10-5:15 pace, the next 6 at 4:55-5:00 pace (about 2:09-2:11 marathon pace), and the last 2 miles all-out. (By the way, props to Tegenkamp for actually sharing his workout and not being super secretive about it like some athletes.) He said after that workout, “[Jerry] walked away from that like, ‘You might be a marathoner after all.’”
On His Plans For Sunday:
Tegenkamp told us that he’s going to be paced by training partner Chris Solinsky through 13 miles. He’d like that pace to be somewhere in the 64:30 to 65:00 range, but said they’re aiming for 65:20’s knowing with the “spectator dominant energy” at the start of the race they’ll probably end up faster than that. He thinks a negative split race is definitely doable and while he’s avoiding setting concrete time/place goals at this point in his career, he said anything sub-2:10 would be satisfying. He doesn’t want to put limitations on himself, but admitted there are “lots of unknowns” going into his debut marathon so said he thinks it’s important to be patient the first half and figure out what type of race it can be from 13 to 18 miles.
On The Future:
You might be wondering if this marathon is a one off thing or an experiment for Tegenkamp, but he emphasized that his long-term focus is now on the marathon. He’s excited about it and said, “I still probably do want to touch on my 10,000 and improve that time, (but) the focus is the road and the marathon and it’s brought a renewed sense of focus and hunger back into the sport for me.”
In recent years, Tegenkamp had grown tired of just trying to make a US team instead of trying to be internationally competitive. Now he’s got a new challenge.