Sunday, 27 December 2009

Comment: UKA Qualifying standards for 2010 European Championships

The marathon runners have known for a while what we have to do to qualify for Barcelona next year - well sort of anyway. The standard will be 2.18 for the men and 2.38 for the women though how many runners will actually get selected is anybody's guess - the policy becomes artfully vague at that point stating "UKA are able to select up to six men and six women ... the first three eligible UK athletes in the Virgin London Marathon... will be selected". My bet would be that this means teams of 3.

With a similar standard being used by England for Commonwealth Games qualification and Scotland and Wales using 2.19 there are plenty to opportunities in 2010 for the marathoners to aim for.

The qualifying standards for the track were published before xmas and remained broadly the same as for the 2009 Worlds. This produced howls of protest from the endurance folks. 13:20 and 27:47 are stiff targets for the 5000m and 10,000m. Indeed if that standard was applied across Europe you would have about enough qualified athletes for half a final !

So what is going on here ? I don't normally write about 'politics, selection and governing bodies' but I'm going to make an exception in this case because actually there could be a serious 'training' point hidden in all of this.

It occured to me that perhaps the folks who are in charge of endurance at UKA have come up with a stunningly cunning plan that goes something like this:

  1. Set the qualifying standards for the track so high that they become unrealistic for most of our current endurance athletes unless they are already world class i.e. Mo.
  2. Make the marathon standards appealing (2.18 should be a lot easier than 27.47).
  3. Athletes (including the younger enduros) forgo the track and train like hell for the marathon over winter 2009/10.
  4. In London we get more guys sub 2.18 but the real benefit comes later ...
  5. Folks have raised their training volume, improved their endurance and start smashing their track PBs in summer 2010 (there are planty of precedents for athletes moving up to the marathon then improving on the track later).
  6. Realising the impact of high winter mileage, long runs and long tempos they repeat in 2011 and track times continue to tumble ...
Well it sounds great and its certainly cunning, lets see what happens !


Ladders said...

Your not daft are you mate !! make alot of sence to me

BrynRunning said...

Hmmmm... exactly the same idea as what I'm doing right now (VLM at 22) and a very clever interpretation of it all - however I think a touch of occam's razor might be required!

Didn't see- are you gunning for the standard yourself?

Anonymous said...

Hello Adrian
all the best for 2010. keep on keeping on.
Zepherinus Joseph
St Lucia
2004 olympian