“I believe having and crowning the season with a title would be something special, of course, for me, something I would really be grateful for. First the debut, then the win, that [would be] really amazing. I thought we would have a more exciting field. Like, of course, we have the Kenyans, we have the Ethiopians, but still I was surprised — and I’m still surprised — why Mo Farah is not part of the field…It’s quite really ridiculous that he’s not in the field.”
Is it really ridiculous ? I don’t think so. Road half marathon racing needs specific fitness, specific training. It is not just about length and endurance. It is about surface, about cornering, about pace changes, about group dynamics and surges, tactics, weather, nutrition and more.
His 1hour track world record was an even paced track workout. He was not even aiming for something ultimate, just get ahead of it by a couple of seconds. You got a world record, okay, keep on going with the 10000m specific training. It was as great long run ! Yes, he is preparing for his legacy, what would be a final 10000m at the Olympics. Not 5/10 double, not marathon, but 25 rounds on a 400m track !
It is like putting Usain Bolt into 400m race in the midst of 100m training. He is 2 seconds out of contention ! Even Let’s Run says, that Farah is in low 59 shape. Well, when you are at that high level of athletics, your goal is never to compete, but to battle out the win. You need low 58 shape for winning the World Half Marathon Champs, cause no matter what time the winner will have, the effort itself will be low 58. I hope you understand what I mean here !
Also consider the age factor. I think that a 37 (1983) year old athlete has very different way of thinking than a 26 1994) year old one. Exactly ! There are 11 years of age difference between them. Mo has to be cautious with race efforts and back to back racing. That is normal.
You might ask why did not he think of competing in this event in advance, or why not do it just for fun ? Reputation, specificity, timing, weather, work, family, end of season macrocycle and so; there can be multiple answers. I think already at the 2nd half of 2019 he was in a 10K base training and was not really engaged in the Original Event on 29th of March ! Yes, this is a postponed event ! Then the Olympics got out on the window ! He was kind of happy with this postponement, I guess to get into some 10km ‘space’ endurance and final kick training !
He needs this extra time, as his racing and training was I think maybe slightly confused in the last couple of years and he was living off of his kick. I say this because his best 10k is 26:46 from 2011. That is not a fresh PR. He ran a couple of high 26min races from 2015 to 2017, but afterwards this was kind of over. He wants to get back maybe to his roots ? When he was in 3:30 or actually 3:28 1500m shape, he was running fast times and winning Olympic golds. He went on to marathon training / road racing and speed was gone. Maybe looking at his genetics, he should have gone back to his yearly macrocycle of 1500m training ? The older you get the more of that critical high end speed you would need, to keep that nervous system firing !
Either ways, I won’t speculate anymore. I think he just decided smartly not to race as his preparation is not specific at all for a road half marathon. That is it. I also hope that he is not getting back with a smack talk, nor his gonna be responding !