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LEARN THE TRAINING METHODS OF THE WORLD’S BEST ATHLETES

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The Importance Of Consuming Carbs During A Marathon

The Importance Of Consuming Carbs During A Marathon

Due to circulating levels of glucose and the storage capacity of the body, taking in nutrition during events shorter than an hour or so is generally accepted to be unnecessary, although interestingly Geoffry Kamworor consumed some Maurten on his way to smashing the half marathon world record (58:01) in Copenhagen earlier this year. Is this merely for publicity for the company (of which there is no shortage given it has been used by the vast majority of major marathon winners in recent years, as well as by Eliud Kipchoge in the Ineos 1:59 Challenge), or is there more to the story? 

Replenishing the calories that are being burnt during exercise is clearly important to maintain consistent output, but how much do we need to be putting in? Running at a reasonably high intensity (such as the pace in a marathon or half marathon, or competing in a longer event such as an Ironman or ultra) will burn through upwards of 1000 calories per hour, which equates to roughly 250 grams of carbohydrate – or 15 bananas!

Fat oxidation will also be contributing to energy production, the proportion of energy substrate which fat supplies is inversely proportional to exercise intensity. As intensity increases more glucose is used in the place of fat, a proxy measurement for this is the respiratory exchange ratio, which is a ratio of the volume of carbon dioxide released to the amount of oxygen used during exercise. Sitting at slightly below threshold pace fat oxidation will be providing roughly 50% of substrate. However, that still means that, ignoring glycogen stores, you want to be taking in 125 grams of carbohydrate per hour just to replace what is being used. Importantly, endurance training prior to an event increases the mitochondria content in adipose tissue, essentially allowing greater energy production from fat sources over carbs. Efficacy of fat oxidation can further be enhanced through training in a fasted state. Ketogenic diets rely almost completely on fat oxidation for energy production, however we will save rabbit hole for another day. Needless to say, none of the top marathon athletes are adhering to such dietary regimes, but I digress.

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Darya Mykhaylova – Training (32:27 10km, 71:36 Half Marathon, 2:28 Marathon)

Darya Mykhaylova – Training (32:27 10km, 71:36 Half Marathon, 2:28 Marathon)

The training volume from Darya differs throughout the season. When she prepares for 10k or half marathons she trains around 130 to 150 kilometres per week. In race season from April to July she covers only 70 to 90 kilometres to be fresh for the competitions and recently she covered 180 to 200 kilometres to prepare for the upcoming marathon. After this high-volume block in Kenya, at 2400m altitude from 16.07 to 29.08 she ran her personal best in 10 kilometres (32.31) on the road and half marathon (71:36). Darya trains with a heart rate monitor and the intensities are controlled in different heart rate zones. For her example the different heart rate zones are: until 142 HR (L1), 144-156 (L2), 156 – 162 (L3), 162 – 172 (L4) in her case. These values are individual and are usually based on the maximum heart rate of the given athlete.

As it should be for a professional runner, the training program needs to be well balanced and that’s also the case for Darya. She usually doubles (two running sessions per day) 5 days per week and one day per week is only one short run, which is her recovery day. Her coach says, if you rest one day per week fully, you lose 52 days of training per year. The following described training log of a full week, was done in Iten, at high altitude and on a dirt track or hilly rough roads:

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Kenyan Elite Training Series: Brigid Kosgei (64:28 Half Marathon, 2:14:04 Marathon)

Kenyan Elite Training Series: Brigid Kosgei (64:28 Half Marathon, 2:14:04 Marathon)

Brigid Kosgei trains in Kenya, a specific place called Kapsait, which is located more than 3000m above sea level. Her manager is Federico Rosa and she is coached by the former Kenyan runner Erick Kimaiyo. She stays in the Rosa training camp and trains with a big group of male and female runners. One of her training mates is Vivian Kiplagat, who won this years Milano marathon in a new course record of 2hours 22 minutes. The training of Brigid is characterised by long and hard runs. It’s stated that she does up to 50 times 400m repeats on a grass slope and once per week long runs of 40 up to 45 kilometres with around 4.00 min/km during her build up.

One of the craziest things in the lead up to the Peachtree roach race were 4 times 3km reps on a flat piece of road, near Kapsait at around 3.00 min/km pace. As well she does sometimes long, and hard tempo runs on a hilly tarmac route at 3000m altitude, for example an 18 kilometres tempo run in slightly under 60min. She rarely trains on track, and even to run on a flat road is more the exception, than regularity. Sometimes her training group drives towards Eldoret to do long tempo runs on a flat road. Only five weeks after her win at London marathon she did a track session, 9 times 1000m and started right away with 2.58 and finished the last one with 2.52.

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800m Training by Peter Hoffman (Part 4)

800m Training by Peter Hoffman (Part 4)

o run a fast half mile you will need to be able to run a great quarter too.

Most half-milers neglect this area.

Sometimes I ask good half-milers what they can run for 400 metres; they will reply vaguely ‘Oh! I’ve run sub 48 seconds.’

But when you ask what they can run right here, right now there’s a world of difference.

So don’t kid yourself.

To run fast over a quarter you need to incorporate regular quarter-mile sessions e.g. 3 x 300 metres flat out in around 34 seconds with a full recovery.

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800m Training by Peter Hoffman (Part 3)

800m Training by Peter Hoffman (Part 3)

More recently the controversial Taoufik Makhloufli ran an 800 metres in 1:44.5 (10 minutes recovery) followed by 500 metres in 65 seconds; 400 metres in 52 seconds and a 300 metres in 39 seconds the last three runs with a four minute recovery.

An alternative good session which we did however use to do was to run a 600 metres (78 seconds); 500 metres (63 secs); 400 metres (48 secs); 300 metres (34 secs); and a 200 metres (22 secs) with a good recovery.

Whatever you do, don’t shy away from these sessions.

A further great session is 3 x 2 x 300 metres with a jog 100 metres recovery and full recoveries between sets.

Aim to run the first repetition in each set at 36 seconds.

Similarly an incredibly tough session is 5 x 300 metres with a walk 100 metre recovery kicking off the first two repetitions in 37 seconds and thereafter holding on!

The world record holder David Rudisha liked to run a 400m/200m/400m/200m at his 800m goal pace with a 3 minute recovery. So if you’re aiming to run 1:44 then your aim should be 52/26/52/26 seconds.

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800m Training by Peter Hoffman (Part 2)

800m Training by Peter Hoffman (Part 2)

Speed is your greatest asset and by running fast I mean sprinting flat out several times each week.

Be honest with yourself – when did you last sprint as fast as you could, putting the pedal flat to the floor? For most athletes it will be months, for others even years!

Unless you’re a 60 metres indoors specialist or a 100 metres sprinter 99% of runners never practice running flat out so how can you expect to suddenly turn on the turbo-jets come a race, especially if it’s a year on from the previous summer!

A good approach is to incorporate the all important strength sessions after your 30-50 metres sprints; do this several times each week e.g. 8 x 30 metres with a good recovery walking 370 metres between each sprint.

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800m Training by Peter Hoffman (Part 1)

800m Training by Peter Hoffman (Part 1)

I use my own grading system of (Ex) Extreme; (VH) Very Hard; (H) Hard; (A) Average; and (E) Easy. A good rule of thumb is at the very most to never undertake more than one Extreme; Very Hard; and Hard session in a 7 or 8 day cycle. By the way, Extreme is pretty much eye-balls out! And close to race effort. When adopt such an approach to your training will enable you to fly a half mile.

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400m Repeats – “The Ultimate Workout”

400m Repeats – “The Ultimate Workout”

This type of workout has a long and colorful pedigree. Legendary runner Emil Zatopek of the Czech Republic, who won the 5,000, 10,000, and marathon at the 1952 Olympics, reportedly ran 20 x 400 with 200-meter recovery every day before the 1948 Olympics, with hard 200-meter repeats before and after. Before the 1952 Games, he upped it to 40 x 400 daily.

Then there was Jim Ryun, the last American to hold the mile world record, who did the same workout in high school in the 1960s (also completing as many as 40 repeats). The 400-meter distance was ideal, Ryun said, because “it’s short enough that you can run pretty fast, but you can recover and do it again and again.” Here’s how to harness the power of repetition in your own training.

Marathon World Record holder Eliud Kipchoge schedules 400m repeats into his training at least once every month – sometimes running workouts such as 25-30 x 400m repeats in 62-64 seconds with 30-60seconds rest. Another common workout Kipchoge incoprorates 400m intervals into is 10 x 800m (in around 2:10) followed by 10 x 400m (in 62-64).

Other elite athletes known to include 400m repeats into their training include Mo Farah, Paula Radcliffe, Kenenisa Bekele, Matt Centrowitz.. the list goes on.

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Eliud Kipchoge – A Typical Week of Training – Preparing For A Sub 2 Hour Marathon

Eliud Kipchoge – A Typical Week of Training – Preparing For A Sub 2 Hour Marathon

As we said in the last article which looks at Eliud’s build-up to the INEOS 159 Challenge, little has changed in Eliud’s training in the last five or so years, bar the addition of a more significant amount of strength and core work. This article looks in more detail at a typical training week for Eliud.

The general structure of the training week is broken down by Patrick Sang in the second part of the documentary released by INEOS.

Monday

AM Easy to moderate run: 16-21km
PM Easy Run: 8-12km

Tuesday

Tuesday is usually a track session. They basically do two kinds of workouts on Tuesdays and cycle them in two-week blocks:

– 15km of goal marathon pace work.

15km worth of intervals at right around their goal marathon pace (so 2:55min/km for Eliud). This is actually a bit harder to do on dirt and altitude than on road at sea level, but of course that is part of the training.

*Example workouts:
– 15x1km (90sec rest) in average of 2:50-2:55. They might start closer to 3min and end closer to 2:50, but the average is normally between 2:50 and 2:55.
-12x1200m (90sec rest) in average of 3:24-3:30.
– 5 sets of (2km, 1km) in 5:40-5:50 and 2:50-2:55.

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Eliud Kipchoge’s Preparation For The INEOS 159 Challenge

Eliud Kipchoge’s Preparation For The INEOS 159 Challenge

Following this build up period the group shifted back into their normal training cycle, which we explore in more detail in Eliud Kipchoge – a typical week of training but is summarised by Patrick Sang, Eliud’s coach, in the second part of the documentary. The training week can be summarised as: Tuesday – track or fartlek, Thursday – long run, Saturday – fartlek, other days – easy. A notable addition to this training is the core work that can be seen in the videos. It is also interesting that it appears that Eliud is now using nutrition during some of the sessions, handed to him from the team van… this was not something that we observed during our time with him in 2017 in the lead-up to Berlin. 

Sang is interviewed at great length throughout the three parts of the documentary, discussing his relationship with Eliud and how it has transformed over the years, admitting that much of the time he now feels that he is a student of Eliud himself. The reverence that all involved with the project have for Eliud is clearly discernible, his self-belief is inspiring and a major focus of the videos.

When discussing Eliud’s nervousness regarding his performance and the pressure he is under, Eliud’s manager Valentijn Trouw says that “He wants to do it for himself, but at the same time he wants to do it for everyone that is involved in the event and everybody who believes in him.” His teammates clearly believe the barrier is within his grasp, when asked to predict his time, assuming all goes perfectly on the day, some respond that he could even go 1:58-low.

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Ingebrigtsen Brothers – Key Training Sessions

Ingebrigtsen Brothers – Key Training Sessions

In April 2018, Gjert IIngebrigtsen – farther and coach of the fastest three brothers on earth over 1500m published some information on the training of the Jakob, Philip and Hendrik in Norwegian language. Here are some of the key take aways from the document:

[Important note: the example training blocks are leading up to races, so they’re the final 14 days leading into a key race.]

* 11-12 training sessions/runs per week 

* 2 days per week they will do 2 quality sessions in the same day – one in the morning and one in the evening. It’s a similar idea, in a way to Renato Canova’s Special Block but far less overall mileage. Example:
AM: 4 or 5 x 6min at threshold (assuming 1-2mins rest) – which for the brothers is around 2:55-3:00/km
PM: 20 x 400m (30-60sec rest) or 8-10 x 1 km (1min rest) at Threshold.
They measure their lactate levels during these sessions and try to keep them at around 3mmol/l

* Normally once per week they will do a training session at around 1500m pace. Example:

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