Mo Farah’s surprise defeat at the Great Edinburgh XCountry on Saturday has made him “very angry” and determined to train even harder when he begins his camp in Ethiopia this week.
Farah was widely expected to get his season off to a winning start in Scotland but he was unable to respond with his usual venom on the slippery 8km course when the American Garrett Heath kicked clear. But the head of British endurance, Barry Fudge, who will monitor Farah’s workouts in Ethiopia, was not too disappointed.
“I’m actually really happy that he is out in one piece,” Fudge said. “That was my biggest fear, that he was going to slide down the side of the mountain. He looked a bit ropey on corners, everyone kind of went ‘ooh’.
“But it’s actually not a bad thing that he has got beaten. It will provide a stimulus going to Ethiopia, which I think he needs. He’s going to be very angry about this and train really hard now.”
Farah, meanwhile, said he was mulling over a crack at the world indoor 3,000m record when he returns to race in Glasgow in February after five weeks in Ethiopia. “We’ll see how training goes. I’m going to definitely get some good training behind me,” he said. “Last year I went to Ethiopia and it worked quite well for me.
“It’s a lot higher then Kenya, where I used to go,” added Farah. “It’s 10,000ft and there is a lot of grass. It’s different but I kind of prefer Ethiopia now. It’s a new track. Kenya is 8,000ft; it makes a little bit of difference.”
When Farah returned from Ethiopia last year he set a world indoor record over two miles and Fudge believes little should be read into an early-season defeat on a surface he had not raced on since 2011. “It was very muddy out there and Mo is a track animal,” Fudge said. “Hitting a hard track has a big difference on his tendon from squelching in the mud.”
Farah flew to Ethiopia on Sunday where he will train with his fellow British athletes Charlie Grice, Mukhtar Mohammed and Adam Clarke. Fudge and the British Athletics’ performance director, Neil Black, will monitor the workouts, which will be set by Farah’s coach, Alberto Salazar.
“We’ll have the usual communication with Alberto about training,” Fudge said. “Going out there is quite simple at this time. You just go out and run and do some basic workouts. There is probably quite a big one about 10 days out from Glasgow and that is where the big discussion will come about what he goes for there.”
Farah has not yet announced his plans later in the spring, although he will definitely miss the World Indoor Championships in Portland and appears likely to swerve the world half-marathon championships in Cardiff the following week too.
“The main thing is it’s all focused towards Rio and whatever happens in March will be based on what is the right thing to do for the Olympics,” said Fudge, who has indicated that a half-marathon in either the Algarve or New York is the more likely option. “If Mo was going to do the world indoors, he would have to do his training a bit differently and it would have a knock-on effect. There would also be a massive expectation that he would win, so therefore you have to get ready and do it properly and that detracts focus.”
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