We are only one-third into the IAAF World Championships in Moscow, and as I watch the races, I see so many great performances and a few “a-ha moments” where some fresh reminders to coaches and athletes could be reiterated!
I am not taking anything away from these athletes.. the pressure is immense, and the stakes are high.
But I’ll use some real examples of what I’ve seen so far…
In the Heats, Run Through the Line
In the qualifying round of the Men’s 100m, we saw James Dasaolu slow down and literally stop before the line, thinking he guaranteed the 3rd qualifying spot based on placing. Luckily for him, he made it on the 3 fastest losers with his 10.20.
Same with Arman Hall for the Men’s 400m and finished 5th (top 4 and 4 fastest). His 45.45 was good enough to make the 4 fastest losers and advance to the next round.
The Lesson? Make absolutely 100% sure you qualify for the next round based on placing. Running a good time also gives you a preferential lane in the next round (Lanes 3-4-5-6) so that’s a good reason t go hard or go home.
Men’s 100: You Need to run sub 10.00
The quality of the men’s 100m is so deep these days, you need to be able to run sub 10.00 in the semis just to make the Finals 2 hours later. You cannot have any weak stages in your race, or else you are going home.
When you consider the 4 fastest losers in the men’s 100 meters, and only 2 advance based on time:
- James Dasaolu 9.97q
- Christophe Lemaitre 10.00q (9.991)
- Pemeng Zhang 10.00 (10.000)
- Jimmy Vicaut 10.01
With a 9 lane track, they could have put Zhang of China in the race, but rules are rules. Still, it’s a NR for China, but note neither China nor Japan has not broken the 10.00 barrier yet. Just give it time.
In Finals, Always Lean or Dip at the Finish
You should be practicing the last 10 meters of your race where you push, push, push and dip for the line. 3 hard strides then lean. I wish I could coach Amantle Montshou and teach her this. (Actually, I got this tip from Lee Evans, so give credit where credit is due)
Only 0.004 separated 1st and 2nd! (49.404 vs 49.408)
Distance Runners: Take control of your race!
I give a lot of credit to Hitomi Niiya (women’s 10K) and Valeria Straneo (women’s Marathon) for taking out the pace for an honest effort. We see too many races where they jog for 24 laps and make it a one lap sprint.
I am surprised we didn’t see the Men’s 10K with more surges and trying to “take the sting out of the legs” by running a hard 24 laps then “we’ll see what’s left in the tank” for that final lap. By running the race conservatively, you leave the race to the great kickers (or sprinters) and therefore you give Mo Farah a chance to win Gold. And he did.
In the Jumps and Throws, Always have a Good Series
If you think your second best jump or throw isn’t important, look at the women’s long jump.
Brittney Reese made the last of the 12 qualifying spots tied for 12th & 13th, but she had a better second-best jump. Then she went on to win the Finals! How close was that?
In the Finals, 3rd and 4th was tied at 6.82m (Ivana Spanovic of Serbia & Volha Sudarava of Belarus) so that reverted to a “countback”.
So don’t just have a good second jump. Have a good series of jumps.
Just ask Mike Powell and Carl Lewis, circa 1991.