(Editor’s note: The first ten questions of this interview were done on Saturday, October 6. The final comments were given by Dathan after his superb race on Sunday, October 7.Special thanks to Dathan Ritzenhein, who, for the past decade, has been a very relaxed interview. And thanks to Emily Lyons for putting the interview together for RBR.)
RBR, # 1. What do you do with Gatorade GSSI?
Ritz: I have partnered up with Gatorade for a second year. This year, I worked with the GSSI lad to identify specific problems in my nutrition. They identified normal sweat rate, the right concentration of sodium for my sports drinks and were able to develop the right formula for me. I was able to use that formula in the trials. I was able to speak to Asker Jeukendrup, Global Senior Director of GSSI, on some of the issues I was worried about during my track season. It is really fascinating.
RBR, #2: What can the average person learn from the GSSI research, are there benefits for the average runner?
Ritz: Yes. Every person is a little different. Gatorade developed the G series pro line, for serious endurance athletes. This is from the high school runner to those training for marathons and triathlons. The pro line (pictures below), is not in average grocery stores, but in Dicks’ Sporting Goods, and run specialty stores. The Gatorade Pro series gives you product to use before, after and during runs. It has worked for me.
RBR, # 3: Where can consumers find out more about the Gatorade Pro line?
Ritz: Just at www.gatorade.com.
RBR, #4: How did you recover from London?
Ritz: It was just nine weeks ago. I was able to come out of that experience injury-free. I went straight into big training. The first couple of weeks I was really tired, because I was doing high mileage again. I spent the first few weeks in Michigan, just decompressing and then I went out, for the last six weeks in Park City. I just came back this past week.
RBR, # 5: What was the importance of training so well in 2012?
Ritz: Training injury-free for a full year was the biggest confidence builder. The last time that happened as 2009, and I ran the AR for the 5,000m that year and was the bronze medalist in the World half that year! That I had 52 plus weeks of full, good, normal training. I have never been able to do that in a marathon. This is a completely differetn realm for me.
Dathan Ritzenhein, Hengelo, May 2012, photo by PhotoRun.net
RBR, # 6; Were you surprised with your 13:14 in Oxy in May?
Ritz: I had a little issue in April, a bit of a stress injury, so I had just come off spending weeks on the Alter G, modified my shoes and even raced in flats. I had not done much fast work at that time. I was completely healthy.
RBR, #7: Nine days later, you ran 27:50.8 for 10,000 meters in Hengelo, tell us about that?
Ritz: Wow! What a swing. I felt like garbage. I was still hobbled from the 13:14 at Oxy. I was so ready aerobically, but I was just destroyed going into the race. My calves weres till sore and i was just tired. In hindsight, I came out of it well. It was hot, really hot, and it ended up being a terrible race.
Monsoon, Olympic Trials 10,000m: Rupp, Ritz, True, photo by PhotoRun.net
RBR, #8: How about the Olympic Trials, 10,000 meters, tell us about that experience?
Ritz: I was very happy. All the pressure of not having the standard came out. We were warming up, andit began to pour, and then it got cold. I said to myself, could it get any colder? I was very focused at this time. I did notice that the steeple pit was overflowing into the track. I had the focus,I was able to savor it in the last lap. I was just thankful.
Ritz in Olympic 10,000 meters,London, August 2012,
photo by PhotoRun.net
RBR,#9: Can you tell us about your London Olympic experience?
Ritz: It was amazing. I just wish I had run better. It was an emotional roller coaster. I was happy to make the Olympic team. I just did not run the best race. I lost focus with six or seven laps to go. I was just gapped. It was a different race, as I spent my energy trying to get back to the pack. If I had been right there, focused, liked I was at the Trials, it would have saved me so much energy. I was upset how I ran, but it was a tough blessing.
RBR, #10: What are the keys to you running well at the B of A Chicago marathon?
Ritz: Hydration. Coming into this race, four out of five times it has been warm. Thankfully, it will be cool. And, as long as the win stays down, I will not changemy fueling. I won’t take extra fluid like I would have if it was hot weather. I will use the Gatorade endurance formula, which they have on the course. I will shoot for 63-64 minutes for the halfway. Jason Hartman, my high school teammate, and a human metronome, will be pacing me.
RBR: Dathan ran a smart race. With Jason Hartman taking him through in 63:40, Dathan stayed out of trouble and ran a fine 2:07.47, for a two minute, five second personal best. Here is what he told us afterwards:
RBR, #11: Tell us about the race?
Ritz: It was great, great conditions, and great pacing, all the way to 30 k. I felt amazing until 35k, very even paced. I thought I had a good shot at the mid 2:06s, but, turning back, with the wind in my face, it was hard enough. I was feeling it. I had planned to take some extra gel, but I was able to hold it together pretty good, so, I was happy. This is a big step forward, a healthy year. One more healthy year, and I could be good! Today, I just made a big step in right direction.
I did the best I could, I had to go back to do the speed, averaged with days off, maybe 90-95 miles a week, volume fairly high, my mechanics feel very good, keep that intensity there, I want to have a great cross country season, and come back in fall in Fall marathon,
I will stay on the track, I want to traini with the best two ten kilo in the world. It will be that much more beneficial for me. Hopefully have all of that strength and speed.
Next year, I will do an entire track season. That was thing for me, 2.09.55 to 2.04, cut that in half, at one point, fairly close, only five or ten seconds back, Jason asked, you want to catch them, we were already a little fast. So, then, next year, that is now the window now.
I am blessed that I make the team. Olympics transcend team. Reinforced the need to come back to the track. My myself and Alberto, think same , come back to fast stuff, try to say, I see the results, training was easier, quarters in 54, it worked for the best, long track development, where as before, tried to run marathon in Olympics, I still think I have a lot of goals to hit.
You have to do a ton of volume, if you faster you run, the more powerful your mechanics are going to be. I used to be person who believe in long everything, make career, my body feels better than it did five years ago.
Dathan Ritzenhein, Wesley Korir, Friday, October 5, 2012, photo by Karen Locke