The Mo Farah Training Routine: 7 Reasons Why Mo Stays Injury-Free And How You Can Too
In the aftermath of Mo Farah’s World Championships double-gold performance, much was written about the impact of coach Alberto Salazar. Many commentators highlighted the high weekly mileage that he introduced into the Farah training regime. But there was little explanation of how Farah has been able to avoid injury in the face of such a taxing running programme. This article investigates.
Mo Farah training secrets
For many of us, the idea of regularly running well over 100 miles a week and staying injury-free is inconceivable. But, for the most part, that’s exactly what Mo Farah has achieved in recent years under the expert tutelage of Alberto Salazar.
What secrets lie within the Mo Farah training routine and can they explain his successful avoidance of injuries?
Below we set out 7 key characteristics of the Farah training regime. These go some way to explaining Farah’s consistent success. And they provide something of a blueprint for everyday runners, looking to improve performance while evading some of the more common running aches, pains and strains.
7 Low-impact training
Two years ago, Mo Farah revealed in a Runner’s World interview the role that low-impact training, and underwater running in particular, was playing in his training programme under the guidance of Salazar.
Farah described how the underwater treadmill allowed him to notch up extra miles, while reducing the risk of any overuse injuries.
In the words of the middle-distance runner:
…If you feel any niggles or if you’ve already clocked up more than 100 miles that week, you can just add a few extra miles on the side. I probably use it three or four times a week now…
Take a look at the video below to see Farah putting the underwater treadmill through its paces in training.
At the time of the Runner’s World interview, a couple of years ago, underwater running was a new experience for Farah. But, for training partner Galen Rupp, the underwater treadmill has now been part of his training regime for an entire decade.
In Rupp’s view, underwater running has enabled him to increase his strength, working his feet and leg muscles hard by using the resistance of the water. An added benefit is that he has been able to recover from hard workouts by running in water – which, it is argued, serves to increase circulation and support the recovery of tired muscles – rather than restricting himself to complete rest.
Remarkably, Rupp has remained almost entirely free of injury during this period.
Check out the full Rupp explanation in the video below:
A further insight, revealing clearly Alberto Salazar’s focus on low-impact training to minimise injury risk, is provided by Caitlin Chock.
Chock was the first US high school girl to run the 5000m in under 16 minutes. And in 2004, while still a teenager, Chock joined Salazar at the Nike Oregon Project in 2004.
In an article for Runner’s World, Chock described the coach’s attempts to find new ways to lessen the risk of injury.
…In the Nike Oregon Project, underwater treadmills are most heavily used for the second, shorter run of the day, to get more miles minus the pounding. They were great…until the day the anti-gravity treadmills arrived; those, to be honest, are heavenly. I was able to run on a stress reaction (near-fracture) without doing any damage. For retaining running-specific fitness during injury they are invaluable…
Salazar’s insatiable appetite for cutting-edge equipment for his runners is illustrated by one simple fact – the coach claims he was the one to buy the very first four prototypes of the AlterG underwater treadmill.
Check out the video below for more on the Alberto Salazar approach to low-impact training, including his use of the anti-gravity AlterG treadmill.