Ritz Finds Balance In "Just Another Race"

Ritz Finds Balance In "Just Another Race"

Once again, Dathan Ritzenhein held our emotions in the palm of his hand.  We are crushed by his lows, and his highs make us dream of his ultimate potential.  His 2:07:47 at yesterday's Chicago Marathon is more than just an emotional high point.  Ritz became the 3rd fastest marathoner in US history through proper execution of a master plan that included preparation, and most importantly, balance as a distance runner.

 

Ritz's theme coming into Chicago, as he revealed in his post-race interview on Flotrack, was to treat it as "just another race."  Often marathoners let the event become the sole focus of their careers.  This approach creates a dynamic of marathon exclusivity in training and racing.  Everything revolves around a spring and fall marathon, and room for development of a complete distance runner is squeezed.

 

Ritz ran Chicago just 60 days after the Olympic 10k.  Traditional marathon thought would say that this is not enough time for proper physical preparation.  How can Ritz get enough tempos and long runs under his belt in only 8 weeks?  I argue that if the complete distance runner is built throughout the year, maybe textbook marathon build up is not necessary.

 

A stronger factor may be the mental strain of long-term marathon focus.  This can be absolutely draining.  Ritz's coach Alberto Salazar did not let this frame of reference enter into his athletes psyche.  Rather, Ritz was finishing 2012 with a marathon, not having his season revolve around it.

Very few marathoners can pop big races without good build up races.  Meb and Ryan Hall can do it consistently, but that is also what makes them unique (in addition to being all-time greats).  

 

Ritz, along with Amy Hastings, demonstrated in 2012 that what may appear as a back up plan may actually make them better runners in 2013.  Train for the marathon, and shift focus to the track to develop speed and intensity.  Both have comprehensive training in their legs in addition to several excellent performances at different distances.  I would much rather have a Ritz or Hastings on my squad that is a 10k runner who has marathon skills than just a twice-a-year marathoner.  They will have longer careers, win more races, and have more tools to compete in a variety of race situations.

 

Clearly every race is not "just another race," but this approach eases the burden of needing to turn in a life-changing performance in any single race. Why should any athlete stack the deck against themselves in this manner?  Ritz's take on 2012 was to have healthy year and race well.  Mission accomplished.  His range gives him options, which removes massive pressure coming from any single distance.    

Bowerman Awards Photo Gallery

Johanna Gretschel 2017 Bowerman Award finalists

Last night, the USTFCCCA named Raevyn Rogers of the University of Oregon and Christian Coleman of the University of Tennessee as the 2017 Bowerman Award Winners. Rogers, the NCAA record holder for 800m, is the third women's winner from Oregon, and Coleman, the NCAA 60m and 100m record holder, is the first-ever winner for the Volunteers. Check out the photo gallery from the evening in Phoenix, Arizona below; watch interviews and highlights from the event here.

Christian Coleman Wins The 2017 Bowerman Award

Screen Shot 2017-12-15 at 9.36.33 PM.png

Tennessee’s Christian Coleman has been named The Bowerman award winner for the 2017 NCAA season.

Raevyn Rogers Wins The 2017 Bowerman Award

Screen Shot 2017-12-15 at 8.49.59 PM 1.png

Oregon’s Raevyn Rogers has been named The Bowerman award winner for the 2017 NCAA season.

NXN Champ Katelyn Tuohy To Attempt H.S. 5K Record LIVE on FloTrack

5a2592367000a.png

Nike Cross National champion Katelyn Tuohy has just one more 5K on her schedule, and that one will be the fastest of them all. On Saturday, January 20, LIVE ON FLOTRACK, she will toe the line at the VA Showcase in a special section of the 5K with the sole purpose of taking down Brie Oakley's 15:55 national record. 

Ruby Stauber To Transfer From LSU To Oregon

stauber.png

After a standout freshman season with LSU, Ruby Stauber will take her talents to the Pacific Northwest to compete for the University of Oregon. A since-deleted tweet from the Wayzata High School girls cross country account first made the announcement, and FloTrack later confirmed it with Stauber.

'Just Wait,' Fred Kerley Could Win The Bowerman

Image of Sport Fred Kerley

This week, FloTrack will introduce you to all six Bowerman finalists ahead of Friday's Bowerman Awards, which will crown one male and one female as the best track and field athletes in the NCAA for the 2017 season. You can watch the awards ceremony live from Phoenix on FloTrack here.

How Raevyn Rogers Could Win The Bowerman

Image of Sport Raevyn Rogers

This week, FloTrack will introduce you to all six Bowerman finalists ahead of Friday's Bowerman Awards, which will crown one male and one female as the best track and field athletes in the NCAA for the 2017 season. You can watch the awards ceremony live from Phoenix on FloTrack here.

How Christian Coleman Could Win The Bowerman Award

Image of Sport USATSI_10096434_168383134_lowres.jpg

This week, FloTrack will introduce you to all six Bowerman finalists ahead of Friday's Bowerman Awards, which will crown one male and one female as the best track and field athletes in the NCAA for the 2017 season. You can watch the awards ceremony live from Phoenix on FloTrack here.

Who's No. 1? FloTrack Tackles The Katelyn Tuohy vs Claudia Lane Debate

Image of Sport/Photo Run Screen Shot 2017-12-12 at 8.13.33 PM.png

If you've paid the slightest modicum of attention to high school girls cross country this season, you know the names Katelyn Tuohy and Claudia Lane. 

2017 Bowerman Blind Resume Test

black.png

The Bowerman Award Ceremony will be LIVE on FloTrack this Friday, December 15, at 9 PM ET.