lunedì 16 febbraio 2015

RENATO CANOVA:FLORENCE, THE HALF-MARATHON QUEEN



Dear Alberto,

The WR of Florence in Barcelona was a surprise for me, too.
While last year the WR was at the top of our interest, and we organized a training program looking at it as priority, putting London Marathon in 2nd position as personal goal, this year, after a bad performance in Chicago Marathon (not only for the final time, but because the interpretation of the race), we choose London Marathon as main goal, because from that race we need to understand if for Florence is better to look at Marathon or at 10000m in top Championships, specifically Olympics.
This year, her preparation already included some very long run, and less short tests at high speed.
The real goal, for us, was to run under 66:00 again, times which could give her the first position in the seasonal list, and at the same time could be a very good performance during the preparation for a Marathon.
Last year I couldn’t follow the race, being in Kenya with Chinese Team. This year, instead, I had a tough workout with Chinese athletes on Friday morning in Addis Ababa, and after I could move to Rome – Torino and Barcelona, where I arrived by night, without having the opportunity to speak with the athletes.
However, I had, for the first time, the full splits (km per km) of the WR 2014, and I could study the situation during the night. I thought it was not possible to finish fast like last year, but it was possible to try to attack the WR of 15 km (Tirunesh Dibaba, 46:26), and after running easy for going again under 66:00.
When the next day, Sunday, I could finally to speak with Florence and one pacer from Spain (the same paced her last year till 16 km), I suggested to start a little bit faster (the part between 2 and 4 km is a little bit uphill, while the part between 15 and 17 km is a little downhill), for having the possibility to have some second of advantage looking at the split of 15 km (which had to be 10.0 faster than last year).
Everything was ok till 10 km, when the split was 9.0 faster than last year. But, during the 11th km, the Kenyan pacer had to stop for blisters, and the km became very slow, reducing the advantage to 2.0 only. Since the split 2014 after 15 km was 9.0 slower than the WR, I told Florence to increase the pace looking at the time of Dibaba, and she did it with an unbelievable 4 kms (between 11 and 15 km) in 12:00, completely alone. This means she bettered the WR of 13.0, and the mission in Barcelona was already ok.
Florence, always alone, after 15 km had 3 kms for recovering, and mentally her race was already over. But, when after 18 kms I went to compare the splits 2014 with the current split, I could realize she was still 3.0 faster than last year, so I told her “if you feel ok, try to run fast the last 3 kms, we see what can happen”.
Florence increased her speed again, and finished at the same speed of last year : 3.0 of advantage after 18 kms, 3.0 for the new WR of 20 kms and of HM at the end.
Here we can see the splits of 2014 and 2015 compared :






01 km : 3:05...(3:05)………………………3:03…(3:03) -2.0
02 km : 6:16...(3:11)………………………6:11…(3:08) -5.0
03 km : 9:28...(3:12)………………………9:22…(3:11) -6.0
04 km : 12:43…(3:15)…………………….12:32…(3:10) -11.0
05 km : 15:47…(3:04)…………………….15:38…(3:06) -9.0
06 km : 18:52...(3:05)…………………….18:47…(3:09) -5.0
07 km : 21:56...(3:04)…………………….21:50…(3:03) -6.0
08 km : 24:57...(3:01)…………………….24:55…(3:05) -2.0
09 km : 28:04...(3:07)…………………….27:57…(3:02) -7.0
10 km : 31:09...(3:05)…………………….31:01…(3:04) -8.0
11 km : 34:15...(3:06)…………………….34:13…(3:12) -2.0
12 km : 37:23...(3:08)…………………….37:13…(3:00) -10.0
13 km : 40:26...(3:03)…………………….40:12…(2:59) -14.0
14 km : 43:30...(3:04)…………………….43:14…(3:02) -16.0
15 km : 46:35...(3:05)…………………….46:13…(2:59) -22.0 WR
16 km : 49:39...(3:04)…………………….49:27…(3:14) -12.0
17 km : 52:43...(3:04)…………………….52:39…(3:12) -4.0
18 km : 55:48…(3:05)…………………….55:46…(3:07) -2.0
19 km : 58:51…(3:03)…………………….58:48…(3:02) -3.0
20 km : 61:56…(3:05) WR………………61:53…(3:05) -3.0 WR
21 km : 64:55…(2:59)…………………….64:52…(2:59) -3.0
HM : 65:12…(0:17) WR………………65:09…(0:17) -3.0 WR


Some considerations about the race and Florence :

The Barcelona HM is a perfect race, very well organized. It’s practically flat (a little uphill between 2 km and 4 km, and downhill between 15 km and 17 km), one loop with start and finish in the same place. The organizers marked every km with a big post, but also with a yellow line on the road, 3m long, that allows to see the splits in perfect way. The weather was perfect (10-12 C) with only some wind, disturbing only a little (while last year was completely without wind). But there are 50,000 spectators on the road, and there is no one meter without people, really curious and interested in the runners. This fact can create a particular atmosphere, very favorable for the psychology of the runners.
Florence was completely alone after 12 and half kms, having, after 18 km, only one referement (one Spanish athlete 100m ahead her) which helped her for finishing so fast (she overtook this athlete in the last 10 meters). She showed great personality (never showed before the same ability running alone, nor during 10000m races on track, neither during Marathons), and needs to understand that can have the ability to run very fast the second half of 10000m on track (or the last 12 km in Marathon), without waiting the action of other athletes, if she wants to try to win reducing the risk to be defeated by some other athlete in the last lap (see Commonwealth Games in 10000m…).
She showed great ability to recover, after 2 kms easy (6:26 between 15 km and 17 km), and this is probably due to the fact we use in training many workouts with this type of variations (for example, 20-24 kms alternating 1 km under 3:10 with 1 km in 3:35).
With a pacer able to have even pace till the end, Florence can look for a performance between 64:30 and 64:45, if specifically prepared.
The fact she had some long workout already (45 km and 40 km) before the race, while last year she refused to have runs longer than 25 km before Barcelona, means that very long run doesn’t reduce the speed for a HM. On the contrary, can exalt the specific endurance, giving the ability to better use the type of speed we need for running distances in the range of 10000m – HM.

The way she ran doesn’t answer to the main question : is Florence an athlete who can give her best in Marathon, or in 10000m (of course, looking at Olympics) ? I think she has the possibility to run 10000m well under 30:00, maybe 29:45 with specific preparation. This year, she has a different type of preparation, more focused on full Marathon. London can give more interesting answer to this last question.



RENATO CANOVA