Haile Gebrselassie is a retired Ethiopian runner, and one of the sport’s greatest legends. During his career he won 2 Olympic Gold medals, 7 World Championship medals (4 golds), and broke a number world records in distances ranging from 2 miles to the marathon. He first arrived on the scene as a youthful teenager, winning both the 5000m and 10,000m events at the IAAF 1992 World Junior Championships. Since then, his versatile ability has given him success across both middle and long distance competition. Geb’s professional career lasted some 25 years, which in the modern day is unmatched.
“A day without running is like a day without eating.”
Geb would train twice a day most days of the year, and would wake-up everyday at 5.30am to begin training. Many are well aware of Haile Gebrselassie’s high mileage, but unbeknownst to many is the focus he placed on supplementary training which include: drills, strides, plyometrics, light weights and sprints. According to Jim Denison’s book ‘The Greatest: The Haile Gebrselassie Story’, Haile would perform “countless sets of sprint drills—butt kicks, high knees, bounds and hops” within his training program. About 3 times per week, following an easy run he would perform 10×100 meter strides. He would also include 40-60m sprints once a week, sometimes following a session. This supplementary training has compound value over the years, and undoubtedly aided him with his incredible closing speed.
Sample Week of Haile Gebrselassie’s Base Training:
Monday: 1. Fartlek training on rolling hills 60min/17km — (3:31.8/km, 5:40.7/mile pace) 2. Recovery session 50min/12km — (4:10/km, 6:42.3/mile pace) Daily Total = 29km / 18.02miles
Tuesday: 1. Base endurance 70min/18km — (3:53.3/km, 6:15.4/mile pace) 2. Easy run 10km + speed session 10x100m Daily Total = 29km / 18.02miles
Wednesday: Warm up / cool down + speedy run 48min/15km (3:12/km, 5:08.9/mile pace) Daily Total = 15km / 9.3miles (*excluding warm up and cool down*)
Thursday: 1. Base endurance 80min/20km (4:00/km, 6:26.2/mile pace) 2. Easy run 10 km + weight training 60min. Daily Total = 30km / 18.7miles
Friday: 1. Base run 75min/18km (4:10/km, 6:42.3/mile pace) 2. Easy run 10 km + speed session 10x100m Daily Total = 29km / 18.02miles
Saturday: 1 Track speed session 6x2000m in 5:40min (2:50/km, 4:33.5/mile pace) 2. Recovery session 43min/10km (4:18/km, 6:55.1/mile pace) Daily Total = ~22km / 13.7miles (*excluding warm up and cool down*)
Sunday: Long run 90min/25km (3:36/km, 5:47.5/mile pace) Daily Total = 25km / 15.5miles
Weekly Total = ~190km / ~120miles
Some of his famously documented workouts include:
5 x 2000m in 64 or 65seconds a lap. (close to 10,000m pace)
8-10 x 1000m in 2 min 28 seconds with 3 min recovery. (close to 5000m pace)