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Eliud Kipchoge

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Eliud Kipchoge's training camp

Eliud Kipchoge’s training camp bedroom which he shares with another athlete. Photo: LETSRUN

Eliud Kipchoge, known to some as “The Philosopher” for his running wisdom, has been described as “the greatest marathon runner in history”. Eliud burst onto the scene as a junior, notably defeating Hicham El Guerrouj and Kenenisa Bekele at the 2003 IAAF athletics world champs in the 5000m. Despite stunning track career, which further included a silver medal in the 2008 Olympic Games, Kipchoge was left out of the Kenyan Olympic squad in London 2012. Following this, Kipchoge shifted his full focus to the marathon distance, and in 2016 won gold in the Rio Olympic marathon.

Kipchoge is described by fellow team mate Abel Kirui as a smart, organized, and discipline person. “If he says dinner is at 7pm, dinner will be at 7pm. If it is time for sleeping, it is time for sleeping. He is always on time.” He also mentions that Eliud is the first in the gym in the mornings. 

Below we explore Eliud’s Kipchoge training leading into the 2017 Berlin marathon. Eliud is coached by Kenyan running icon, Patrick Sang.

Comments on training:

Consistent mileage, no fluctuations, & lack of traditional taper

5 weeks out: 118mi / 189km
4 weeks out: 110mi / 177km
3 weeks out: 119mi / 191km
2 weeks out: 110mi / 177km
1 week out: 113mi / 182km
race week: ???


Approaching Berlin, his training was very specifically geared towards the stress of the marathon. Notice the very long tempo runs done at good pace! Also in this final phase of training there’s no long 30-40km easy runs (LSD), nor are there any short tempo/threshold efforts. There is however interval workouts which would cover a stimulus which would overlap with shorter tempo training. These intervals are run mostly between 5-10km pace, nothing astounding fast but getting in faster running stimulus. Other than the day of his flight, he trains every day. He’ll likely recover more efficiently by training than by taking a full days rest. 

High altitude & dirt roads

Add terrain and training conditions to the equation and it makes an already incredible 40km tempo in 2hr13min seem that much more impressive! In other words, his training in Kenya will under-depict the % of marathon pace/effort he’s training at. Notice how he lands in Berlin 2-3 days before the race – enough time accustoming himself to hotel, loosening up from flight etc., without compromising maximal altitude training benefits.

Eliud Kipchoge World Record Training Leading Into 2017 Berlin Marathon:

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A few extra points:
  • He can barely touch his toes in standing straight leg hamstring stretch.
  • Like all fellow athletes in his squad, he has roster of camp cleaning duties to fulfill. Everyone in camp is treated equally.
  • In training camp, he shares a 8x10ft room with a fellow athlete, and shares communal lavatories with his squad. His night stand rests all his water bottles for training.
  • He is as good as it gets: he’s nurtured his nature sublimely with likely 15 years of quality training. He’s found a striking balance between stressing his body and recovering. It’s not possible for anyone to succeed in training by simply adapting his highly refined structure. You may need 2-3 days between hard workouts where he might only need 1-2. It’s all relative.
  • And most importantly, the basis of a high performance program is not to mistaken with expensive resources. A few top Kenyan running squads reiterate this. It’s about working in a well-managed system with knowledgeable passionate people, working alongside dedicated team mates with common goals.

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