This is an interview I did with Mo Farah before he won his first of his ‘doubles’ at London 2012 (he’s just completed a treble double!). How much has he achieved in such a short time since then…
“Obviously this year has been the breakthrough year for me, and I have been really surprised. Early on, six months ago, if you had said to me you could have one world medal I would have been happy with that but to come away with two, a gold and a silver, is amazing,” Mo told me. “Moving to America has been a big change but I was always there, or thereabouts; in the past I have finished sixth or seventh, but I was only one half of a second behind the medals at the 2007 World Championships and then in 2009 it was one and a half seconds.”
I asked how the move to the US influenced Mo. “The facilities are incredible,” relays Mo, “as well as having Alberto [Salazar] as a coach. I am really enjoying it out there; training is going well and it offers me the chance to get away from everything.” On his motivation to go for gold after his silver in the 10,000m at the World Championships last year, Mo said: “Obviously on the 10k I wanted to win the gold but didn’t. I came close but not close enough. As an athlete you are disappointed and you think about how hard you have worked so you say to yourself this time it is the 5k and I want to get gold, which gave me a lot more confidence. I knew I would have to work hard for the 5k though.
“Last year (2011) was very good but you have to forget about this and keep training hard to be on top of your game. I am planning to double up at the Olympics. It’s not going to be easy but I will give it a go. I believe the 10k is before the 5k so I’ve got to take care of business in the 10k and see how the body recovers and then go into the 5k.” The world will wait with baited breath to see how Farah’s games pan out.
Mo is cagey about his training; he doesn’t want to give his secrets away. Here’s what he told me he does every week (remember this is pre-2012. I expect his training has done a double-double since then, too!).
“I probably run a 100 miles a week, maybe just over. This involves three types of session a week – running twice a day, with gym sessions added in three times a week. I start off on Monday running 12 miles in the morning and another five miles in the evening. A track session will follow in the morning on Tuesday and another run in the evening, maybe with some weights as well.
“Wednesday will be two runs again and on Thursday another track session plus an evening run and some weights. Friday I run twice. Saturday’s track session in the morning will be followed by a run in the evening and then I always do a long run on Sunday.
“Throughout the week we try to cover every angle – long, short, speed, fast. It just depends what the coach says. We break down the sessions, so sometimes we have a long session, sometimes a speed session, sometimes medium and then we have the long runs as well.”
Mo has achieved so much in the last few years. The question is, does he want to continue his doubles through to Rio? Can we push the realms of the believable and imagine a quadruple double? With a new baby on the way, and training to the extent and degree he does this represents a huge physical and mental effort. Such success isn’t possible without sacrifice, as well. Whatever he decides, the world adores him. And rightly so.