Kenyan Training

by Rita, Answer by Marius
(United Kingdom)

The Kenyan training principles is something I have personally studies a great deal through my 15 stays in Kenya.

These principles are in particular interesting for marathon training runners.

Let me explain why, based on this question received from Rita (who is one of the over 1100 current subscribers to the Monthly Marathon Newsletter --->)

Dear Marius

I am most interested in the Kenyan training you mentioned in this month's Marathon Newsletter and wondered where a copy of this information can be obtained for future reference.

Thank you in advance and hope to hear from you shortly.

Best wishes

Rita :o)


Thanks for the question.

The Kenyan training is indeed interesting (Kenyan runners dominate almost all marathons around). I am working on releasing more specific training programs based on these training principles, but I cannot say exactly when it will be out, trying to add it in there between finishing up medical school next spring.

But let me give you a short summary on the way..

When I was training in Kenya (a total of 1 year), with some of the absolute best runners the world has seen, I did extensive testing on these athletes.

To be more precise lactate acid testing, using small bloodsamples from the fingers of the runners.

What I found out (to my surprise) was the intensity level, meaning how hard these runners were running was amazingly similar from one runner to the other.

They were almost all on "autopilot".

And this intensity level was almost exacly the same as what my own experience on how hard to run on different workouts for ideal results seems to be.

This I found out later in the "testing labs" based on these initial findings.

On top of that, in the recent years this type of training (the Kenyan type marathon training) has been topped by Italian style periodisation.

Making Kenyans dominate marathons world-wide.

The result is a very powerful training regime that (in my mind) gives close to optimal results, especially in the marathon.

Later, when I stepped down from my own running I did some testing on runners ranging from 3:00 in the marathon up to 4:30-5 hours finishing time.

They not only did well on this type of training, they produced excellent results and almost all stayed injury free on the way. So it worked just as well for the non-elites.

So what is this type of training ?

It is weighing threshold type training (80-87 % of max heart rate) with progressive high-end type running (87-92%) at the correct time in a strict week to week variation of pace regime.

With strict week to week variation, meaning you train one system (say through 5k training) and then bring this into the next cycle (that is say half marathon specific work).

So you are continually "challenging" the body while at the same time you manage to keep the training from the prior cycle there.

This is different than "normal" type schedules that has too little variation and too little intensity control.

I promise that I will bring out more information on this Kenyan training as soon as possible.

For those of you that are subscribers to the Monthly Marathon Newsletter (see the top right side of this page to add your email), I will keep you informed.

Good luck with your training.

Best regards,

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