Galen Rupp New York Half Marathon

After a busy 2021, which included an eighth-place finish in the Olympic marathon and a second-place finish in the Chicago Marathon, Galen Rupp took nearly five months off.

Now he is back on the roads. The two-time Olympic medalist ran the USATF 15K Championships on March 5 and will run the New York Half Marathon on Sunday, March 20.

These shorter events are the first two races in his preparation for the World Championships in Eugene, Oregon, where Rupp will run the marathon on July 17. It is the first time the event will be held on US soil and it has particular meaning for Rupp. : The championships will be in his home state, in the same city where he made his first Olympic team in 2008 while studying at the University of Oregon.

Rupp spoke with runner world on March 7, before the NYC Half, and talked about his recent training, his plans for the season and how it felt to see two of his on-track records fall in recent weeks. He also talked about a big goal that is still on his radar: the American record in the marathon.

He is optimistic after returning from a tough race

Rupp made his season debut at Gate River Run, which served as the USATF 15K Championship, on March 5 in Jacksonville, Florida. He had an unusually tough race, finishing seventh in 43:31 after leading much of the 9.3 miles. He was 21 seconds behind the winner Nico Montañez.

Rupp said he was dealing with a familiar point ache in his lower back and upper gluteal muscles, which flared up during the race. “Unfortunately, he went back there a little bit, but I’ve been getting a lot of treatment, taking care of him and I’m still very optimistic,” he said. “It’s happened before, at the Peachtree race last year and at the Great North Run, and I recovered pretty quickly.”

Rupp said the pain has come and gone over the past few months. Despite the lingering problem, he said he is fit and has put in several confident workouts, including a recent 10 x 1 mile session and several key long runs.

He was not surprised when Grant Fisher broke his American records.

Earlier this month, Grant Fisher of the Bowerman Track Club broke the American record in the 10,000 meters, running 26:33.84 in a race in San Juan Capistrano, California. The previous record (26:44.36) was set by Rupp in 2014. Three weeks earlier, Fisher also broke the american record in the 5,000 meters indoors, another mark previously held by Rupp, who called Fisher’s 10,000 meters a “tremendous performance”.

“[Fisher] He ran amazing and I mean I was shocked when I heard the time but hats off to him. Obviously he’s been on a roll this winter,” Rupp said. “I can’t say I’m surprised just because you look at the way he’s been running.

“It’s amazing to see an American who really has incredible potential to win medals not just this summer but probably for years to come at a lot of these 10K world championships,” he continued. “I’m sure it’s going to be fun to watch.”

He’s focused on maintaining overall health this season.

After his second place in the Chicago Marathon at 2:06:35just nine weeks after the Olympic marathon last August, Rupp and his coach Mike Smith thought about putting three marathons on their schedule in 2022. But considering the recent ups and downs with his health, they ultimately decided to focus on quality over quantity this year.

“As much as I’d like to do three, you can start playing with fire a little bit,” Rupp said. “Even if it goes well once, that doesn’t mean that’s the norm, you know? So we really wanted to see what would be best for my overall health, and performance obviously is the most important thing as well.”

Rupp is aiming for the marathon podium at this summer’s World Championships. He also wants to run a fall marathon, but hasn’t decided which one yet.

During their winter training, Rupp and Smith focused on speed work as he prepared for the NYC Half.

Training has only made it harder.

Since Chicago last fall, Rupp has been training at home in Portland, Oregon, while Smith, who also coaches the cross country and track teams at Northern Arizona University, remains in Flagstaff. The duo communicate daily about workouts and mileage, but most of Rupp’s training is done alone. It’s a situation Rupp has grown accustomed to over the years, even when he was part of the now-defunct Nike Oregon Project, former training partners often preparing for different races at different training times.

“As much as I would like to do three, you can start playing with fire a little bit.”

Running alone day in and day out can be tough at times, Rupp admitted, but it has also increased his mental toughness.

“It certainly makes you stronger on those days when you’re doing a lot of 1,000-meter reps on your own and it’s pouring rain outside,” he said. “You get over it, you definitely appreciate it a lot more. You get used to trying really hard, there’s also a lot of confidence that comes from that.”

On days when he’s fighting solo, Rupp focuses on the mental gains he’s making in addition to the physical exercise.

“Physically, sometimes those [splits] they may not be what you want them to be, but it is much more important in your mind that you continue to overcome those difficult times and learn to deal with it, “he said. “No matter how you feel physically, you can still work through a lot of pain and discomfort, and all of that serves you well when you get into a racing environment.”

He’s aiming for the American record in the marathon.

In Chicago, Rupp ran within a minute of the American record (2:05:38) set by Khalid Khannouchi in 2002. While Rupp is hesitant to declare a race in which he hopes to break the record, improving the mark remains a priority. goal.

“A lot depends on your preparation and training, the course and the weather,” he said, explaining that a track record can be easier to set in optimal conditions by comparison. “A marathon is a bit more complicated, and I think it’s a bit of a dangerous game to always put your eggs in that basket and say, ‘I’m going to do it here.’ It depends on the opportunity, because you are a bit limited in the races that you run.

While many factors must come together to create the optimal conditions to break the American record, Rupp says he wants to be ready to take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves.

“I think there will certainly be opportunities for me to do that and really go after it, but it’s always more important for me to win, to be competitive in the marathons that I run,” he said. “The entrants are always pretty good, and it’s usually going to take something very close, if not something American record-breaking, to win those races.”

He’s had to make adjustments with age, and he’s okay with that.

By the time he competes at the World Championships in Eugene this summer, the four-time Olympian will be 36 years old. While balancing some lingering pains, Rupp has been trying to be patient, understanding that his body doesn’t bounce back as easily as he did. in his 20s

“Sometimes when you get stressed, you have a tendency to look back at the training you did in the past and say, ‘Well, if I can replicate that, I’ll run exactly the same,’” he said. “And that is not the case. We are not static beings. Everything is changing all the time.”

Smith, Rupp said, has been great at telling him to back off for a day or two and try working out later, a lesson that has been hard for Rupp to learn.

But you have also earned the trust of your cardiovascular system, your central engine. “It gets better with time,” she said. “I think you see a lot of great marathoners running very well in their 30s and 40s. I just need to make sure I’m moving well and my body is healthy, but we’ll get there.”

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