fbpx
Kenyan Elite Training Series: Betsy Saina (30:07 10km, 67:49 Half Marathon, 2:22 Marathon)

Kenyan Elite Training Series: Betsy Saina (30:07 10km, 67:49 Half Marathon, 2:22 Marathon)

Please note: this article was written by Thomas Potzinger (European coach and assistant to Renato Canova). The article hasn’t been edited to correct grammar or brevity but rather published as submitted.

“In the training from Renato Canova every week looks different than the previous ones and different forms of fartlek sessions, tempo runs, track sessions, long runs, hill workouts are implemented to build the athlete to get gradually ready for the race. During the above-mentioned fundamental period she did for example track sessions like 3 times 2000m in 6.50 with 3min recovery, followed by 6 times 1000m in 3.15 at a dirt track at 2000m altitude. But she did also shorter track workouts to bring back her abilities she had before she shifted to the marathon, like 10 times 600m in 1.52 with 1.30 recovery, followed by 10 times 400m in 72 sec with 1min recovery or even sometimes in the afternoon very short sessions like 10times 200m in 32 sec with 200m recovery jog between. As well different hill sessions like 10 times 100m uphill, 6 times 300m slope at 95% effort with 3 to 4min recovery or 10 times 80m uphill sprints where in the training included to recruit the fast twitch fibres. The goal should be never to lose what they athlete was able to do, even when shifting to the marathon. The track sessions became a lot faster in the specific marathon preparation, where the 2000m intervals came down to 6.10 and 1000m intervals were run consistently under 3.05.”

Renato Canova – Marathon Training (Mileage)

Renato Canova – Marathon Training (Mileage)

Traditionally, it has been thought that a marathoner must always run prodigiously high volumes—upwards of 20 miles a day for the top athletes. In contrast, James Kwambi and Duncan Kibet only run 80-90 miles a week, often only running once per day. However, other elite marathoners like Martin Lel and Robert Cheruiyot maintain 135-150 miles per week.

Whereas low-mileage marathoners run 60% (50 miles a week) of their mileage near marathon pace, higher-volume runners do less than 37 miles per week near marathon pace, and the proportion is much smaller—only 25-30% of the weekly volume. Why is high mileage not necessary for Kibet and Kwambi to run 2:04 marathons? To answer this, we have to return to Canova’s thesis—all non-specific training exists only to support the body’s ability to do race-specific training.

Renato Canova’s “Special Period” Example Training Sessions

Renato Canova’s “Special Period” Example Training Sessions

Half-Marathon (59:47 PR)
– 7 x 2000m at 100-102% RP, 400m recovery in 2min
– 5 x 3000m at 101% RP, 1000m recovery at 85-87% RP
– 3 x 5000m at 99% RP, 1000m recovery at 85% RP
– 15 km long run at 102 % RP
– 25 km long run at 97% RP

Marathon (2:05 PR)
– 6 x 4000m at 102% RP, 1000m recovery at 89% RP
– 5 x 5000m at 101% RP, 1000m recovery at 89% RP
– 4 x 6000m at 101% RP, 1000m recovery at 89% RP
– 4 x 7000m at 99% RP, 1000m recovery at 91% RP
– 5 x 2000m at 105% RP during a 35km (22mi) long run at 91% RP
– 25 km (15.5mi) long run at 102% RP
– 30 km (18.5mi) long run at RP
– 35 km (22mi) long run at 97% RP
– 40 km (25mi) long run at 92% RP

Renato Canova’s “Special Block” Explained

Renato Canova’s “Special Block” Explained

For the best development, Canova believes that athletes must increase the “modulation” or day- to-day variation in distance and intensity, introducing greater stresses with proportionally greater recovery. To this end, every 3-4 weeks during the special and specific periods, he includes what he calls a “special block” (during the special period) or a “specific block” (during the specific period). These “blocks” are days on which the athlete does two workouts, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

Runners must take special care to arrive at a special block well-rested and to recover well afterwards. A special block can focus solely on endurance, solely on speed, or can mix both. Canova gives the following examples of each.

5 Speed Workouts for 5km/10km Runners (Canova Style)

5 Speed Workouts for 5km/10km Runners (Canova Style)

Renato Canova is one of the world’s most successful long distance running coaches, having coached over 50 athletes to Olympic/World Championship medals over the 5000m through to the Marathon distance. Canova favours prescribing training sessions for distance runners at their target race pace to have them best prepared come race day.

Below you will find 5 interval training sessions for 5km and 10km runners that Canova has prescribed his elite athletes:

#1: 2km + 1600m + 1200m + 800m + (4x400m) with 200m jog recovery between all repetitions (approximately 1-1.5 minutes)
Begin at your 10km goal pace in the 2km repetition and slowly increase your speed to be at your 5km goal pace by the 800m (4th) repetition. The final 4x400m intervals should be at your 5km pace or faster. Between each interval, jog 200m at around your usual warm up/cool down pace, perhaps slightly slower. For most runners targeting a 5km in around 14-16mins or a 10km in 30-34mins, this should be around 1min to 1.5min jog recovery.

Renato Canova – Elite 10km Training Plan (1 Month)

Renato Canova – Elite 10km Training Plan (1 Month)

This is a schedule Renato Canova designed for a hypothetical elite 10km runner to illustrate his training principles.

Week 1 – Monday: Long Easy Run (75-90min) + 5-10 Short Hill Sprints

Week 1 – Tuesday: Long Fast Run (25-30km) at 85% of 10km Pace

Week 1 – Wednesday: 2 Easy Runs Totalling 30km (Easy/Regeneration) 

Week 1 – Thursday: 2 Moderate Runs Totalling 30km 

Week 1 – Friday: 10-15km Tempo Run at 90-95% of 10km Pace

Week 1 – Saturday: 2 Easy Runs Totalling 30km (Easy/Regeneration) 

Week 1 – Sunday: Long Run (90-120mins) at Moderate Effort

X

Forgot Password?

Join Us