David Rudisha’s Training – Relax and Win?

There was a great article with insights from Brother Colm O’Connell, coach of David Rudisha, written by Drazen Jorgic on Reuters.

He doesn’t go into detail of the training workouts, and the article was mostly focused on his final 30 day taper leading up to the London Olympics where he ran an astonishing 1:40.91 without a rabbit.

There are a couple of good pointers in the article, and one of them is the importance of ground contact.  There are similarities of a gymnast propelling themselves with the greatest amount of force with a single push.  Can you repeat that for 45 steps in a 100m?  ~90 steps in a 200m?  ~360 steps in a 800 meters?

But what is behind that push?   How do you maximize ground contact?


If you haven’t read Bud Winter’s Relax and Win, I recommend reading it and try to apply his methods.

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 9, David Rudisha of Kenya sets a new world record in the mens 800m final during the evening session of athletics at the Olympic Stadium  on August 9, 2012 in London, England
Photo by Roger Sedres / Gallo Images

What is also amazing is his final 30 day taper rarely had track sessions on a synthetic track.  It was mostly grass or dirt.

By keeping the legs fresh, without the fatigue of gravity or lactic acid, ground contact can maximized, and along with relaxation, you get optimal performance.  Good enough for a world record.

Here is a partial snippet, for the full article, go to reuters.

"I asked myself that question a thousand times, day and night.  That’s when I started to think: let me look at exercise work, core strength, pilates, the way you run, the way you carry yourself, the way you relate to the ground."

"It has resulted in how Rudisha runs: very much controlled, very much smooth."

"I wanted someone with a gymnastics background, someone who can really develop poise, core strength, how you relate to the ground, pushing off the ground,"

"He was able to put into practice things I had worked out in my head."

“Gymnasts and runners have more in common than people realize”

"It’s not the opposition that makes you tired, it’s gravity. Gymnasts just deal with their body and how you handle things in space and (former gymnast Ian Kiprono) has a great sense of that."

"I just said to him, let’s do just nice, confidence building, quality – not volume – training for the next few weeks."

"So I brought that concept in to his training and we would only go on the track and just do very short, crisp, high quality interval training.”

"When he came off the track, I wanted him to feel good."

"Rudisha would say ‘You want me to do more and push even harder?’ and I would say ‘No, I want you to keep it, lock it in, don’t let it out just like that. Keep it under wraps’."

Jimson Lee

Jimson Lee

Coach & Founder at SpeedEndurance.com
I am a Masters Athlete and Coach currently based in London UK. My other projects include the Bud Winter Foundation, writer for the IAAF New Studies in Athletics Journal (NSA) and a member of the Track & Field Writers of America.
Jimson Lee
Jimson Lee
Jimson Lee