Whilst living and training with the Kenyan marathoners I began to really see the differences in how they do things to how we do them. There’s a lot we can learn from the East Africans, not just about running but how they lead their lives in general.
The athletes I coach for the marathon are all doing it the Kenyan way..
Here are 5 things that the Kenyans do and you can do too to help you achieve your 2020 marathon goals!
1. Go slow
The Kenyans are great at reigning it in… They have no problem running/shuffling along at 5 minutes per mile slower than their marathon pace. They understand that they need to go slow to get fast!
In contrast we rarely do our slow recovery runs slow enough which means we may not be fully recovered to nail our hard marathon specific workouts..
Run your hard runs HARD and your easy runs REALLY EASY!
2. Run twice a day (doubles)
This is easier said than done, especially as most of us have lives outside of running, work, family,etc. Unlike most Kenyan runners who if not running are sleeping or eating.
But adding an easy 5 or 6 miles in the evening after our morning run is a great way to build volume. You should ease into it though, starting with 1 or 2 days per week, a perfect day for this is after your hard sessions, i.e hard session in the morning, very easy recovery in the evening.
3. Rest A LOT
Again, easier said than done with everything most of us have going on in our lives. But you can rest more just by going to bed a little earlier. An extra hour or two in bed will go a long way in helping you recover and adapt from your training sessions. You should be more tired than usual anyway if you’re in the middle of a marathon build up, so go to bed!
4. Hilly roads/trails
The Kenyans do most of their runs on hilly terrain, the only run they’ll generally do on the flat is the long run! They are building so much strength! Even their recoveries although very slow are still done on undulating routes. Hills are your best friends during marathon training.
The Kenyans are extremely motivated. We can’t really compare our motivation to theirs, they are motivated by money, not for wealth or greed but to survive, to feed their families. Fortunately most reading this won’t need to win a marathon to feed their families but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t feel motivated.
We should be motivated to be the best we can be, to finish the marathon is a huge achievement! You may have time goals, PB goals, international team selection goals, personal or charity goals.. Whatever your reason for wanting to run a marathon, write it down where you can see it every day and let it motivate you to get out there day in day out, rain or shine! Be the best you can be!!
Here are just 5 very easy to implement changes that YOU can make to your training today.