ingrid_kristiansenApril 22 - Ingrid Kristiansen the world's greatest marathon runner of the last century, believes Paula Radcliffe is doing everything right as she prepares to win next year's Olympic gold medal.

The Norwegian legend is delighted Radcliffe, after the birth of her second child Raphael last September, has decided to make a gradual comeback rather than rush into a spring marathon.

The world marathon record holder put on hold chasing a fourth Virgin London Marathon title last Sunday (April 17) which would have matched the record number of victories achieved by Kristiansen between 1984 and 1988.

Instead Radcliffe is making a steady comeback with a series of shorter races in her build up, after the disappointment of failing to win a medal at the last two Olympics.

She will begin by competing in the BUPA Great Manchester Run over 10 kilometres, the distance for which she is also world record holder, on May 15.

It will be her first race since the 2009 New York City Marathon.

"I think that is a sound decision," said Kristiansen, invited along by organisers after the finish of the 2001 London Marathon to advise Radcliffe of what physical and mental attitudes would be required before making her debut over the distance in the following year's race.

Radcliffe, who watched her father run London in 1985 when he clocked three-and-a-half hours, was motivated to switch to the marathon when Kristiansen on the same day stormed to a world record time of 2 hours 21min 06sec, listened attentively to every word.

And she did not disappoint anyone when 12 months later in a magnificent debut she roared to a new world record time in a women's-only race of 2:18:56 and also become the first British winner in London since Liz McColgan in 1996.

Then, in the autumn of 2002, she lowered that performance to 2:17:18 in Chicago before returning the following spring to London and posting the still remaining rock solid mark of 2:15:25.

Kristiansen, after that first meeting, has become a firm friend of Radcliffe who makes no secret she highly values their ongoing friendship which has strengthened over the years.

Now Kristiansen is hoping, with Radcliffe (pictured) having adopted a sensible approach to her latest comeback,  that she will be rewarded by clinching the ultimate prize and winning the Olympic title on home British soil.

"What she needs to do is win the gold medal - but it will be hard," said Kristiansen.

"She has the world record so I don't think it's smart for her to go and try and push herself for another.

"It's smarter to prepare for the Olympics and it's good to see she has come back steadily.

"I think with two kids and old injuries she's had before, it's best for the moment to stay away from the marathon and do shorter races."

Kristiansen, acknowledging Radcliffe is now 37, added: "The most important thing for Paula is to be smart and don't think 'I can do the training I've done before', and train a little bit less.

"She's made a good decision not to run the marathon at the World Championships in Daegu where it will be very hot but instead concentrate on getting the Olympic qualifier in the autumn."

Where and when that will be has yet to be announced but Berlin, the world's fastest marathon course where seven men and women's world records have been recorded in the past, is emerging as favourite.

"Getting the qualifying time and not chasing another world record should be the only aim," insisted Kristiansen.

"That is what she needs most."

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November 2010: Radcliffe - I have a "really, really good feeling" about London 2012
October 2010: Radcliffe's world records rated higher than Dame Kelly's Olympic gold medals