Patrick Makau Interview

February 28, 2014 1

© Copyright – 2014 – Athletics Illustrated

Patrick Makau Musyoki, best known simply as Patrick Makau, is a former marathon world record holder. He ran the 2011 edition of the Berlin Marathon in 2:03:38, which currently stands as the second-fastest time. In that race he battled the world record holder from Ethiopia, Haile Gebrselassie and prevailed. The record stood for two years before countryman, Wilson Kipsang bettered it by running just 15 seconds faster, finishing in 2:03:23. Gebrselassie’s marathon world records were, 2:04:26 then 2:03:59. All four of those world records were run in Berlin.

Makau is also known for his dominance at the half-marathon distance as twice he earned a silver medal at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships, in 2007 and 2008. Those two second place finishes helped Team Kenya earn gold medals at those championships. At least eight times he has run the half-marathon under 60 minutes.

The Machakos area native is now returning to training after having sustained a knee injury and looks to compete at the marathon distance again, perhaps in the fall of 2014.

3000m – 7:54.50

10 km – 27:27

15 km – 41:30

20 km – 56:13

Half-marathon – 58:52

25 km – 1:13:18

30 km – 1:27:38

Marathon – 2:03:38

Christopher Kelsall: You had quite the knee injury that sidelined you from competing in the BMW Berlin Marathon, are you all better now?

Patrick Makau: After several challenging months, I am definitely feeling much better, strengthening the kinetic chain in the gym and on Tuesday, February 25th, I had my first hard speed-work session and it went very well on my favourite route in Maasai Land, close to Ngong where I live.

CK: How much volume in training have you been able to run since your recovery?

PM: Not much, but still enough to have proper base and if all goes well, I will be focusing on specific endurance training and speed-work in the months to come, with some tune-up races that will happen in April and May and with a direct return to marathon racing in autumn.

CK: What was the contributor to your 2:14 at the London Marathon last year?

PM: I had a bad day. In the morning, before the race, I didn’t feel well and during the race I started to feel better, but despite months and months of hard work and training, I was not able to compete at top level. It was a difficult day for me.

CK: It appears your rivals from Ethiopia are looking serious again. How do you think Kenenisa Bekele will do in his debut marathon?

PM: I will tell you after Paris Marathon… Actually, marathon is unpredictable event, especially in debut. Kenenisa is an excellent athlete and I expect him to do well, but don’t know how well.

CK: Will we see you compete over 10,000m to improve your personal best time of 27:27?2011 BMW Berlin Marathon

PM: I set my 10 miles PB (45:41) in Tilburg in 2012 and I know that I can run faster than 27:27 once I am back to my top shape. However, I am not about sprinting with youngsters, so I will leave 10,000 metres and half-marathon events to them and I will continue to focus on training, recovery and marathon racing.

CK: Is it true that you are primarily self-coached? If so what does a typical off-season week of training look like?

PM: I believe in listening to my body and I use training structure of Patrick Ivuti and Jimmy Muindi, who are my seniors and mentors. I am also good friend with Paul Tergat and I talked in depth about training with him.

For me, marathon preparation starts with good rest after previous marathon and I take several weeks off and I even add few kilograms of weight and have some foods I can’t have while training hard and during this part of my training I let my body and mind recover.

After rest, I start with easy running first (4 weeks of 30-40km per week) and slowly I start to introduce gym and slower speed work (fartlek and shorter intervals) and with 12 weeks before my next marathon I commence with full training when my days are made of one or two trainings a day, 200-220km per week and lots of rest.

CK: What does your training week look like during those final 12 weeks?

PM: During my 12-weeks long training for specific marathon I do one long fartlek sessions at faster than marathon pace per week; one long intervals (over 1000m when getting to closer to race, much longer earlier in preparations) session at faster than marathon pace with short recoveries and fast Long run (longest being 45km, done at 10% slower pace than marathon pace) and these are my three quality days per week. The rest is made of easy running, massage, good rest and clear mind and definitely taking Sunday off and spending my time with my family in church.

Closer to a marathon weekend, I reduce my mileage to 160km per week.

CK: We often hear stories of East African kids walking and running great distances to school and back as well as at lunch. Is that your experience? How far was your commute to school?

PM: Kids do walk to school and back in Kenya, some without shoes, some with, some on full stomach, some on empty stomach.

As a pupil, I used to run or fartlek to school, seven kilometres each way, for total of eight years. Most of the time I did this with just one meal a day, but definitely often while very hungry and without food for a whole day.

I had a difficult childhood, my African name (Makau) means a fighter and I was given that name because I was surviving while other kids were dying. I come from Machakos area which it is dry and impoverished and I was blessed to be able to use some of funds I earn from my sponsor adidas and by competing to assist my parents, dig a bore-hole and bring electricity to a village, benefiting 250 people in my rural area.

CK: Who was your running hero growing up?

PM: Patrick Ivuti and Jimmy Muindi. Hope readers will try to learn more about them.

CK: Apparently you have been spending lots of time lifting weights in the gym.

PM: Actually, my team is assisting me and I have exercises from physiotherapist Thomas Ott from Dr. Müller-Wohlfahrt’s office in Germany and from physiotherapist Robert Jongh from Physiotherapy Jongh & van Osta from Holland. It is all about getting strong and supporting my body.

And for the record, I don’t enjoy gym very much.

CK: What does Matthew Kisorio’s comments to the press about drug use in Kenya mean to his relationship with Athletics Kenya and his fellow athletes? Was he deflecting blame off of himself?

PM: I don’t believe in blanket blame and in speaking without specifics. Doped athletes in any sport and in any country need to be removed from sport; so that all of us clean athletes can compete fairly and seek the limits that our bodies and minds can reach.

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