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Adel Mechaal: “I am jealous of the Brits due to their incredible system”

Adel Mechaal: "I am jealous of the Brits due to their incredible system"

Exclusive interview with middle distance runner on the attractiveness of the 1500m, love of British middle distance running and ambitions for the 2024 outdoor season

Adel Mechaal is excited about this year for a number of reasons.

The Spaniard is aiming to represent his country at what would be a third Olympics, at Paris 2024.

Mechaal finished fifth in the 1500m at the Tokyo Games in 3:30.77 and wants to break the 3:30 mark this season.

Even if Mechaal manages that, there is no guarantee he’ll make the Olympic podium in the French capital due to the sheer strength in depth of global 1500m running right now.

Last year, 11 guys – representing countries over four continents – ran sub-3:30 in the distance, the most over a single season in history.

However, Mechaal is relishing that challenge. The Spaniard wants to build on his indoor season, where he finished sixth in both the 1500m and 3000m finals at the World Indoor Championships in Glasgow.

The 33-year-old will open up his outdoor season over 5km at the ASICS Paris Festival of Running on April 5.

AW chats exclusively to Mechaal below:

Adel MECHAAL in Paris (Albin Durand)

How do you reflect on your 2023 season?

I think the 2023 season was a very special and consistent one for me. I won national titles in the 1500m, indoor 3000m and over cross country. I got a European indoor 3000m silver medal in Istanbul and made the semi-finals of the 1500m at the World Championships. So it was a pretty good year but it’s now about building for the 2024 season which of course includes the main goal of the Paris Olympics.

How special was it to win silver over the 3000m at the European Indoors in Istanbul?

This was a competition that I prepared really well for and now I’ve got my set of medals at the European Indoors. I won gold in Belgrade (2017) and bronze in Torun (2021). In Istanbul, I was really happy to be competitive against Jakob Ingebrigtsen and I was really proud of my performance.

How do you view the landscape of global male middle distance running right now and the strength in depth of quality?

The system of training has changed a lot in the past few years. I cannot say it’s just the Ingebrigtsen/Norway [threshold training] system but I think people are now more focused on the aerobic side and not so much on the anaerobic phase of training.

Before, coaches focused on the aerobic side in base training but when a meeting got close, especially where we wanted to run a fast time, our mind turned to…

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