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Eliud Kipchoge – Long Run

Eliud Kipchoge – Long Run

We arrived at the gates of the Global camp with the full moon still high above us. It was cold, there was a light drizzle of rain, the morning light was just starting to breach the horizon, no one was around. After some minutes, a few athletes arrived and began stretching outside the camp, we chatted with them about upcoming races (Singapore, Amsterdam, Nairobi…). Within five minutes a crowd of over twenty had congregated, awaiting the arrival of Eliud and the commencement of their weekly long workout run.

Eliud Kipchoge – Fartlek

Eliud Kipchoge – Fartlek

Upon arrival at the camp for the Saturday morning interval workout, we had to leave the motorbike next to the main (sealed) road. The dirt road approaching the camp was dangerous territory for the vehicle. Rain throughout the previous afternoon, that continued well into the night, had resulted in the unsealed roads resembling a Tough Mudder obstacle course.

Kenenisa Bekele’s Training

Kenenisa Bekele’s Training

Another key specific session Bekele often used was 8x (400 in 52-54, rest, 200 in 24-25) with 90sec-2min rest between.   Features of this set certainly lean toward needing ‘pure speed’. The compounding nature of this set is that it merges the ability to hold that speed over “longer” distances, via having both highly developed aerobic conditioning, but also tapping into the his bodies ability to clear lactic acid quickly. The final icing on the cake of this session was that it was usually performed 10 days out from Bekele’s focus event and it was done at altitude, additionally straining the system and maximizing benefits.

Fastest Female Marathoner Ever – Paula Radcliffe – How She Trained

Fastest Female Marathoner Ever – Paula Radcliffe – How She Trained

Typical of most elite Marathon runners, Paula was known to take the weekly training volume up to 200km+ per week (or 145 miles approx.) during hard marathon buildups. She felt that once this average of 200km per week had been reached, that there is no point in increasing this further and that it is smarter to increase the quality. Given this philosophy, Radcliffe performed intense aerobic work all year round when compared to many other famous marathon runners. In fact, it was reported that a lot of her aerobic workouts were above her anaerobic threshold. For example, a lot of her sessions leading into a major marathon were at paces between 10,000m to half marathon pace and even her easy days were run quite fast. Perhaps this style of training was captured best in her quote:

The Master – Haile Gebrselassie – How He Trained

The Master – Haile Gebrselassie – How He Trained

As is typical of African runners, his training is polarized. Almost 60% (110 km of his 190km a week) was at 6:15 min/mile or slower. About 8 % was at paces near marathon pace, and 6% faster than marathon pace (approximately 4:48 /mile that year) The majority of his distance training was conducted at altitude above 8000 feet. Thus, training performed near to marathon pace was adding additional pressures on his body, giving him the advantage over his sea level prepared competitors.  According to estimates, Geb’s easy pace of 6:15 per mile would probably be equivalent to around 5:50 per mile at sea level.  No matter how it is calculated it was clear that Geb was doing a substantial proportion of his training at pace which would have been fairly easy for him.

Training Talk Eliud Kipchoge’s Coach – Patrick Sang

Training Talk Eliud Kipchoge’s Coach – Patrick Sang

Five sets of 2000m, walk 100m, jog 100m, 1000m, walk 100m jog 100m. Paces were set at 5:50 for the 200m and 2:50 for the 1000m. The group was split into two, based on speed. Eliud was paced by alternating runners for the first few reps; they substituted in and out, in order to keep up the pace.   After joining some of the earlier reps in the session I spoke with Coach Sang in depth, he willingly bestowed gems of wisdom in between taking splits and relaying results to an assistant who noted it all down. Coach Sang was amicable and friendly, however he said that he is known to be a harsh disciplinarian at times; he believes the respect of the athletes is of the upmost importance (behind volume, we’ll get to that).

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