Eliud Kipchoge is the only man on planet earth capable of even attempting a sub 2 hours for the marathon. But every runner can improve and learn from how he is preparing for this historic run.
When Eliud Kipchoge steps on the start line for the Ineos 1:59 challenge we know he will have left no stone unturned in this second attempt at a sub 2 hour marathon. What can the recreational runner learn from Kipchoge’s 1:59 preparation to improve your running?
In Breaking 2 in Monza 2017, Kipchoge ran 2:00:26 in a result only few thought possible at the time. So how do you adjust your training in order to shave 27 seconds off your marathon time when you are the already greatest of all time?
Kipchoge has opened up in an online diary in the lead up to Vienna. Kipchoge and his team have introduced two specific workouts per week to strengthen core stability. Kipchoge says these core stability workouts were developedby his physio in the lead up to his world record breaking marathon in Berlin 2018. While it’s hard to believe Kipchoge was without a core stability focus throughout his formative years and his rise to marathon immortality. It does highlight an often overlooked but important factor for runners in general and something we should all use as a focus in our training.
If improving core stability can be a factor in Eliud Kipchoge improving his marathon then any runner can improve the focus on their core. If you want to run faster and be less vulnerable to injury, strengthen your core Give this a focus in your weekly schedule.
Kipchoge puts a high price on his recovery. Kipchoge has three physiotherapy or massage sessions per week and following his hard fartlek and long run sessions has a 10 minute ice bath. While most of us don’t have the time or means for three massage sessions per week it again highlights his focus on recovery. Prioritise time for recovery and schedule a massage or physiotherapy maintenance when time and means permit. While recreational runners may not use an ice bath after every hard session. Having a specific focus on recovery will make you a better runner. Kipchoge has structured his training to give him the best performance from his body and also recover from his hard sessions. This is a smart strategy that will allow him to be recovered and ready for each of his effort sessions per week.
In his current phase of training 10 weeks before Vienna, Kipchoge runs three hard sessions per week. While he doesn’t elaborate on the detail of each session he runs a Tuesday track session, Thursday long run and fartlek session on Saturday. He spaces his sessions apart and allows recovery days between each session where as we’ve said focusses on recovery. A smart and well-structured training cycle is vital to both get the best from your session and allow time for recovery.
The final factor that recreational runners can take from Kipchoge’s 1:59 preparation is his simplistic approach to training. While Kipchoge has ability greater than all of us his training structure is uncomplicated and all of us can structure our training in a similar way.
As mentioned earlier, Kipchoge runs his three sessions Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. He uses ice baths to recover directly after these sessions. He uses the days following these for recovery from the hard sessions with easy running and aerobic development. And twice a week he works on his core strength. While each of us have different life demands, each of us can structure our hard sessions in a way to give time for recovery. This also gives room for altering a schedule when things don’t go to plan and you can’t run a session.
The three rules to learn from Kipchoge’s 1:59 training that every runner can structure into their own training;
- Prioritise weekly core stability workouts
- Prioritise recovery and build this into your schedule
- Have a simplistic and flexible training structure
Eliud Kipchoge is using these strategies in his constant search for marathon perfection. The belief he has in his ability to be the first man to break 2 hours for the marathon is only possible because of perfection in his preparation. Learning from Kipchoge’s training may just help you run your own perfect race next time you line up on the startling.