EUGENE (26-Jun) -- On the heels of his runner-up finish in the 10,000m last night at the USA Outdoor Championships here, Dathan Ritzenhein told reporters gathered for the Track & Field Writers of America (TAFWA) awards breakfast this morning that he had chosen three-time New York City Marathon champion Alberto Salazar to be his new coach.
"I'm going to be joining Alberto and Galen up there," said Ritzenhein referring to Portland about 125 miles north of here. "There's only so far you can get on your own."
Ritzenhein, who was coached a the University of Colorado by Mark Wetmore, split with his professional coach, Brad Hudson, after last April's Flora London Marathon where he finished 11th in a personal best 2:10-flat. Ritzenhein was disappointed with his performance and said today that aspiring to be a 2:08 marathoner wasn't good enough when the world's best were running much faster. Salazar not only has the know how, but incredible assets as his disposal at the Nike World Campus, including state of the art training facilities and sports scientists.
"I think it would be a mistake to do it half-way," said Ritzenhein, a two-time Olympian. "Now you have to be ready to run 2:06, 2:05, to be competitive. Now I see you have to be ready to run fast."
Ritzenhein's performance last night signaled at least a short term return to the track. He's likely to go through the same kind of training which Salazar has used effectively with Kara Goucher, building up her track speed they laying on the endurance training to be competitive in the marathon.
Because he ran his marathon in April, Ritzenhein said he was several weeks behind in his training for the track, but was very satisfied with his progress. His job now, he said, was to train for the IAAF World Championships in Berlin. But he said that the marathon would never be far from his thoughts.
"I'm going to come back to the marathon," he said.