World Championships: Mo Farah focused on recovery as he chases more gold
the Luzhniki Stadium
Sunday 11 August 2013
How do you celebrate winning a second world title? If you're Mo Farah, it's by having a massage under a tree from the performance director of UK Athletics, then steak and chips with the family. Quite what he has planned if he pulls off the double double later this week is open to conjecture. For now, he is merely focused on ensuring his body fully recovers from the after-effects of his energy-sapping 25 laps to 10,000 metres gold.
Tomorrow morning, he will wake up at 6am Russian time to prepare for his 5,000m heat some four and a half hours later; the final is scheduled for Friday evening.
Farah's immediate activities in the wake of that first gold, which edged him a step closer to repeating his golden double of London 2012, were somewhat unusual. Blocked from returning to the warm-up track for his massage, he instead had an impromptu treatment session from Neil Black on Black's portable table. "Rihanna [his daughter] was like, 'There's Daddy's medal here'," Farah said, "but they weren't having it and so we came outside and just did it under a tree."
There was the occasional odd look from passers-by – not that Farah was unduly bothered, his attention now solely on defending the 5,000m world title he won two years ago in Daegu.
Despite his past championship performances and his form this season, Farah is treading into the unknown, still not wholly sure how his body will react to the pounding it took on the Luzhniki Stadium's blue Mondo track. He and his American training partner Galen Rupp are the only athletes doubling up in both distance races.
Of his chances of that double double, which only the Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele has previously achieved, Farah said: "It would be great. It's something I want to do. It just depends on how the race is run. It's not a case of me just saying I'm going to go out there and do it. I will go out there and work hard, cover every move."
Farah revealed that the tactics of the Ethiopians had been to push the 10,000m pace and put the Londoner on the rack. The humid conditions meant that was nigh-on impossible. It certainly won't happen in the 5,000m heats and, predicting how tactics might unfold come the final, he said: "They'll probably do something early with the pace, just go as hard as they can and maybe sacrifice one guy."
Farah goes into tomorrow's heats as the marked man and the assumption that a second gold can all but be put around his neck now rankles. "I was getting texts from people just saying 'Go and do it'," said Farah. "I'm like, 'It's not as easy as that'."
Nonetheless, there is a Usain Bolt-esque expectation on the Briton's slender shoulders that he will win every time he steps on the track. He has yet to talk with Bolt on the subject but, with the increased expectation, said: "I'm willing to have a chat with him!"
For now, Farah feels good despite the 10,000m final being harder on him than expected. In London, there was an additional day to recover, which adds a further twist to his preparations this time, and Farah is not looking forward to Tuesday's early start.
"I've just got to get it out of the way, hopefully do that race, qualify and get ready for the final," he said. Asked about cementing his place in history alongside the greats of distance running, he merely said: "It would be good but I don't think that far ahead."
He admitted, though, that the field were now intimidated by him. Already this season he has fired out a trio of notable markers. He ran a sub-51-second lap in the 5,000m at the European Team Championships in Gateshead and then broke Steve Cram's 28-year-old British record for the 1500m in Monaco, an event he rarely races. The 10,000m victory in Moscow was just the latest confirmation of his status at the top in distance running.
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