It was a race packed with action, with some pushing and a runner tumbling, too, but national record holder Jinson Johnson wouldn’t blame the incidents for crashing out in the 1500m first-round heats at the recent World Athletics Championships in Doha.

“The difference between me and the world’s best is around five seconds. I have to improve a minimum of three to four seconds, only then will I be able to run along with them,” said the 28-year-old Asian Games champion in a chat with Sportstar after his heats at the 59th National Open here on Thursday.

“Of course, I got blocked with somebody falling, these things happen in a race but I have to improve myself. Only if I have more ‘capacity’ [can I] pull again but I don’t have that.

“And, if you noticed, Timothy Cheruiyot, the world leader from Kenya, has a personal best of 3:28 but he clocked 3:36 in the heats. And I, a 3:35 runner clocked 3:39. So that was how the race was.”

Johnson revealed that he did not feel comfortable with the fast, then slow and then fast again race pace in Doha. “The first lap was 57, the second 61 and then the third was 58, that was a problem, too,” he said.

The Army athlete, who will be running in the World Military Games in Wuhan (China) next week, now plans to add more miles to become stronger. “I have to improve my personal best (3:35.24s) to go to the Tokyo Olympics (entry standard 3:35.00s). I need to improve my aerobic capacity, speed endurance and my long-distance training,” said Johnson.

‘Need to improve’

“If you check Cheruiyot’s and Jakob’s (Ingebrigsten of Norway) 5000m timing, it is better than our national record. I need to have that sort of capacity. In India, I do about 100 to 120kms a week, I think we need to improve on that. But we cannot say how much more kilometres I need to do, at least not now, the coach will decide on that.”

Johnson, who trained with coach Scott Simmons at Colorado Springs just before going to the Doha Worlds, will resume his training in the U.S. after the Military Games. And he will have some quality runners to train with. “This year’s World Championship finalist is there, Olympic (5000m) silver medallist Paul Chelimo is also there. Training with them will make a difference. I couldn’t adapt well when I last went there because I was there for just 20 days. That’s too short a period to try anything.”

He did not have much time to relax after the Doha Worlds, too, reaching Ranchi on Wednesday night and then running the heats this morning.

But Johnson isn’t complaining.