Excerpts from an interview with David Rudisha, World and Olympic 800m champion by Jürg Wirz for the IAAF

I share this interview with you as the first “successful comeback story.” More to come. therunnersclinicpt

DR: It is psychologically very tough, especially when you are used to dedicating most of your time to the sport you love. Your work is training. But now you are not healthy enough to go out there and train. And to make things worse, you see the others training and competing. You feel miserable, somehow helpless. You never know how long it will take and if you will ever be back at the same level you were before. . . I had to accept the situation and learn to be patient.

JW After the injury, I believe you were spending a lot of time having treatment in the German city of Tübingen, where your manager, James Templeton, lives.

DR: That is true. Soon after the injury occurred, I went to Germany for different check-ups and a first round of therapy. After coming back to Kenya, I had some rest, almost three months. We wanted to see if the problem would disappear on its own. But it didn’t. That’s when I went back to Tübingen. In October they did a so-called key-hole surgery. They checked inside the knee. Fortunately, no serious damage was found, even both meniscuses were still intact. They just found something small floating and they sucked it out. Nevertheless, back in Kenya, I still felt the pain.

JW: For how many months did you not run at all?

DR: In December I tried a bit. But the pain was still there, so I had to go back to Tübingen for the months of January and February. Only since then, from early March, was I able to start with some form of training: first only 10 or 20 minutes very easy, than 30 and later also some fartleks and speed work.

JW: What kind of alternative training did you do to keep fit?

DR: I did a lot of gym work, sometimes two to three hours a day, and a lot of specific exercises for strengthening and stabilising the knee. I also did quite a lot on the indoor bike. I got more tired doing that than in a workout on the track! Sometimes, my motivation was very low. You don’t see if what you are doing is really helping you. As a runner, your main job is supposed to be running, not doing exercises in a gym.

JW: Now you are finally ready for your comeback, is the knee not an issue anymore?

DR: The injury has gone. The pain has gone. But it is still somewhere in your mind. You are still thinking about it, maybe even waiting if you are going to feel anything. Only for the last three weeks or so was I able to follow a proper training regime. But a track session cannot replace a race. I think I will need at least one or two good races before my mind will be completely free and back to where it was before the injury.



  1. Brad  August 22, 2014

    This is a great interview. A good reminder to “stick with it” even when the chips are down.


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