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Aug
20
Jamie de Sylva

Mo Farah: The Training Regime That Made A King

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Image of Mo Farah and his training regime's impact on his performance
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Days after Mo Farah was crowned double World Champion, the attention of many switched to the secrets of his success. What could account for those remarkable performances in Moscow that had some describing him as the greatest British middle-distance runner of all time, with the potential to be the best the world has ever seen? Today we focus on one crucial aspect of his success: the training regime that made a king.

*** UPDATE ***

Since posting this short piece, we’ve learnt a lot more about Mo Farah’s training regime, the influence of coach Alberto Salazar and what lies behind Mo’s outstanding performances. Check out this link for a much fuller, more up-to-date account of the Mo Farah training regime.

More information about Mo Farah’s training regime

While the full details of Mo Farah’s training regime are a closely-guarded secret, some interesting nuggets can be gleaned from throwaway comments the maestro has provided in recent weeks. Below we highlight a couple of articles that have helped us shed light on the crazy world that is the Mo Farah training schedule.A recent interview by Shortlist is our first port of call. It’s a quick read and reveals a few intriguing aspects of the Farah regime on the way:

  1. Farah describes his use of an underwater treadmill to relieve his legs from the usual pressure associated with running and allow him to log more miles without getting injured.
  2. He highlights the high-altitude tent that he sleeps in when away from his high-altitude training camp.
  3. Finally, you’ll find Farah’s top tip: don’t drink water during your 5 or 10km runs, given the adverse effect on your balance of running with a bottle.

…My team has session plans that change day to day, plus I have different coaches for different aspects of fitness. It’s important not to do too many different aspects daily, as I don’t want to suffer burnout…

The role of Farah’s training coach

Our second pick today is a recent piece in the Independent, written shortly before Mo claimed his gold medals at the World Championships.

The article focuses in particular on the impact of Alberto Salazar, the well-renowned coach that many credit with Farah’s ascendancy in recent times. His impact is felt in many ways.

  1. The author highlights the ‘ultra-holistic’ Salazar approach to Farah’s training schedule.
  2. There has been a focus on basic speed and acceleration with specialised sprint training.
  3. Perhaps more surprisingly, Salazar has modified the distance-runner’s programme to incorporate the sport you would least associated with Farah: boxing.

Unconventional for sure. But after Mo Farah’s performances in Moscow, it’s hard to argue with the results.

So where next for Farah? It’s perhaps best summed up in the quote below from Steve Jones – holder of the British record for the marathon (and indeed one-time world record holder) that Farah may well challenge when he runs the 2014 London Marathon.

…Right now he’s the best runner in the world and he could end up the greatest ever by the time he finishes his career…

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