February 27, 2024

Jakob Ingebrigtsen struggles with an achilles injury

Jakob Ingebrigtsen, the double world champion in the 5000 meters, has recently opened up about the challenges he has faced in his Olympic preparations and his determination to achieve success despite setbacks. In an interview with NRK, Ingebrigtsen shared insights into his training regime and injury struggles.

Ingebrigtsen, accompanied by his wife Elisabeth Asserson Ingebrigtsen, welcomed NRK into their newly constructed home in Sandnes on Norway’s western coast. Despite the ongoing construction work, Ingebrigtsen showcased his dedication to training by leading the way to his home gym, where he diligently continues his workouts despite facing injury obstacles. The gym, a separate small building on his property, held a temperature of 30.2 degrees centigrade when NRK visited and Jakob explained that warm temperatures during work-outs theoretically can increase the benefit of training without having to run faster. Even so, he said that he would far more often rather run faster than in warm conditions.

The runner has been grappling with inflammation in the membrane around his Achilles tendon, a condition exacerbated by his past struggle with pelvic issues. Injury trouble caused him to drop out of the European Cross Country Championships during the autumn of 2023 and has made him stay at home twice instead of attending planned high-altitude training in the Sierra Nevada.  He will also not compete during the World Indoor Championships in Glasgow in about a month’s time. Despite these setbacks, Ingebrigtsen remains determined to defend his Olympic gold in the 1500, even as he navigates through a rigorous rehabilitation process.

Ingebrigtsen’s training routine now seems to include sessions on the treadmill, and elliptical trainer, with a focus on maintaining fitness levels while minimizing stress on his injured foot. He acknowledges the difficulty of balancing training intensity with injury recovery but remains optimistic about his prospects for a successful comeback, thinking that he is likely only weeks removed from his normal training. 

Having spent many more hours jogging in water (in a swimming pool) and on the elliptical trainer than on the treadmill during the fall and so far this winter, he is now running every second session and will hopefully be back to running twice a day in the near future.

The 23-year-old runner reflects on the disappointment of his recent defeat in the World Championships, where he had to settle for a silver medal in the 1500 meters, behind Britain’s Josh Kerr. Despite this setback, Ingebrigtsen draws inspiration from past victories and remains committed to learning from defeat as he prepares for future competitions, including the upcoming Olympics in Paris.

Ingebrigtsen was a firm favorite with the betting companies to win the 1500 during the Eugene (2022) and Budapest (2023) World Championships but had to settle for silver on both occasions as he was beaten by Josh Kerr in 2023 and Jake Wightman in 2022.

Kerr, who often has been at his very best during Championship finals, recently made it clear during a podcast that he thinks Ingebrigtsen is vulnerable in Championships races as these are run without pacemakers.

Looking ahead, Ingebrigtsen outlines his plans for the upcoming season, including competitions in Eugene, Bislett Games, Rome, Sandnes, and possibly Monaco, leading up to the Olympics. Despite the challenges he has faced, Ingebrigtsen maintains a confident attitude, believing in his ability to overcome adversity and strive for Olympic gold once again.

Ingebrigtsen’s journey underscores the resilience and determination required to excel in the competitive world of middle-distance running. Despite facing setbacks and injury struggles, he remains focused on his goal of Olympic success, driven by a steadfast belief in his abilities and a relentless pursuit of excellence.

Personally, I believe that Jakob was not at his best during Budapest 2023 and that this is the main reason why Kerr was better than Ingebrigtsen on that day. To me, it seems that Ingebrigtsen clearly has the tools required for dominating and winning even unpaced races, but I am curious to see how much he will have been set back for the vital 2024 season by the injuries he has battled for several months.

Mathis Brorstad

Mathis Brorstad

Mathis Brorstad is a Norwegian freelance writer. He is mainly covering Athletics, Biathlon and other Winter Sports. In the past he has done work on odds and probabilities.

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