Six Minutes And Six Points With Alberto Salazar Including “the hotter it is the better”

July 1, 2016

EUGENE, Ore. — After the 2016 US Olympic 10,000m Trials post-race press conference, Alberto Salazar was hanging around answering questions and offering some interesting insight into Galen Rupp‘s latest US 10,000m title. The full video is embedded below, but we’ve pulled out six interesting points.

1) Salazar Was Nervous At The End, But Said Rupp Used Good Tactics

Salazar admitted that he wasn’t completely confident Rupp was going to get the win over Shadrack Kipchirchir as he was afraid “leading all that way into the wind would catch up with him.” He said that he would have liked to see Rupp not leading with three laps to go, but commented that Rupp was smart slowing the pace down on the second to last lap. This allowed him to rest up for the final kick and also got Kipchirchir to go around him and take the lead at the bell.

2) It May Be Eight In A Row, But Salazar And Rupp Aren’t Counting

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Asked if it was important to get the win and extend the streak, Salazar hadn’t even thought about it leading up to the meet. He said:

“I don’t think I’ve thought within the last six months what number [win] it is. [Galen] wants to win and he wants to do well in Rio. And we have great Americans and stuff, but in Rio you’re going to have Mo Farah and unbelievable runners. So you better be able to win here if you want a chance of winning or getting a medal there. … Number of wins, so what? I think he’d rather lose here and do better there than win here and extend the streak and not do well there.”

3) Rupp & Salazar Likes The Heat: “The hotter it is the better”

Rupp has proven over his career that he is not averse to racing in the heat. The marathon Trials in LA were very hot and saw a lot of runners struggle and today’s 79-degree weather was no different as there were a slew of DNFs, but Rupp triumphed again. We asked if the heat was an advantage for Rupp and Salazar agreed saying, “Yeah, we were hoping the hotter it is the better.” He added that they do a lot of heat training and joked that Rupp has even “felt cold here the last couple days.”

4) Rupp Will Most Likely Be Doing The Marathon/10K Double In Rio

During the press conference, Rupp confirmed that he would be doing the 5,000 here at the Trials and wait to make a decision on which double (10K/marathon or 10K/5K) he’d like to do in Rio after that. Salazar offered some more clarification here saying that they wanted to “keep their options open,” but “he’d have to do something incredible there that made him think, ‘You know, I want to go with the 10 and 5 now.'” Either way, the 10K is his first choice.

5) At 30 Years Old, Rupp Isn’t Showing His Age

Asked if Rupp was starting to show his age at all at 30 years old and after many years of high level running, Salazar responded, “Nah, I don’t think so. We look at Bernard Lagat [who’s] 41.We joke [Rupp’s] got another 10 years. I don’t know if I’m going to want to though, so he might need to find another coach.”

6) Simultaneously Training For Races 20 Miles Apart In Distance Is Confusing

Salazar was asked about Rupp’s sub-par performance at the Stumptown Twilight 5000 on June 23rd. Salazar explained he was “shot” from the training they did leading up to it. Salazar said 5 or 6 days before that he did a “really unbelievably hard, fast 22-miler” and then a few days later had a double workout day with long intervals in the morning and then a fast speed workout with Matt Centrowitz later in the day.

Salazar went on to talk about “walking the fine line between marathon training and 5K.” Even as he spoke to us after Rupp’s impressive win, Salazar seemed to second-guess some of the training decisions they’d made. Listen from the 3:39 mark through 4:35 mark to see how much thought Salazar puts into the training and try not to let your head explode.

Bonus) Salazar promised they won’t take long to decide which events Rupp will do in Rio after the 5000, assuming he qualifies. “We don’t want to screw around with other peoples’ thoughts. He’ll run the 5K and make an immediate decision. Within the night.”

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