Justin Gatlin wrote this fine column a couple of weeks ago to show RunBlogRun readers how the Commonwealth Games,to be held in April 2018 in Australia. That is just one of the major events in 2018 for Kenyan athletes, from World Indoors, in Birmingham, to World Half marathons in Valencia, Spain, both in March, Commonwealth in April, and Diamond League, May to August! How will the top stars of Kenya prepare for the 2018 season? Justin Lagat has some suggestions!
How the Commonwealth Games’ Schedule will affect athletes’ preparations for other major competitions next year.
The track season usually comes around April and ends around September. April to June is usually the time when athletes would push themselves, be it in the local or international meetings, to meet the qualifying times for the major championship events that usually happen around August.
However, coming at an unusual time for track season, many track athletes will likely be caught unaware this time round when Athletics Kenya selects the team to the Commonwealth Games scheduled to start on April 8th in Australia. Most Kenyan athletes usually follow a training program that involves stages that have been created by their coaches over time. They would usually set some months for recovery, others for mileage loading and others for speed work and track racing season. The cross country season has always been a good transition period towards the track season, but things will change drastically next year. Some athletes will be torn in the middle not knowing whether to focus on the Commonwealth Games, the Birmingham world indoor championships, the world half marathon championships, the African Cross country championships, the IAAF diamond league meetings, or on the Africa Senior Athletics Championships.
The Valencia world half marathon championships will happen on the 24th of March which means that some athletes will have to choose between running here and focusing on the Commonwealth Games that will happen about two weeks later in Gold Coast, Australia.
Geoffrey Kamworor who will be seeking to defend his world half marathon title for a third consecutive time, for example, will likely have to compromise his dreams of making the men’s 10,000m track team to the Commonwealth Games. It will be the same case for Bedan Karoki, who has always been running side by side with Kamworor in both distances during many of the major championships. The women’s world half marathon defending champion, Peres Jepchirchir will likely to be still in her maternity leave, but Cythia Limo and Mary Ngugi will likely wish to repeat another impressive performance next year.
Six days before the national trials to select Kenya’s team for the Commonwealth Games there will be trials to select a team for the African cross country championships on 10th February. Most of the biggest Kenyan cross country stars are the same ones who usually dominate the long distance events on the track. Agnes Tirop, Irene Cheptai and Alice Aprot have often feature in the cross country events as well as in the women 10,000m events, so it will remain to be seen which event they will choose to participate in and how that will impact on the Kenyan team chosen to run in the event that these ladies will not run.
To make the team to the Commonwealth Games, athletes will have to be in their best form when the national trials are conducted on 16th February. However, to win the IAAF diamond league trophies later in the year, or to run well at the Africa Senior Athletics championships in August, the athletes will have to maintain their best form throughout from February up to September, which will be a good case study for coaches in the future.