Young Kenyan Training

How the Young Kenyan Athletes are Training

Iten Athletics training camp, December 1998

Training program for St. Patrick High School, Kenya – the “birthplace” of runners such as Charles & Kipkoech Cheruiyot, Peter Rono, Matthew Birir, Helen Kimaiyo, Wilson Kipketer, Japhet Kimutai, Sally Barsosio, Rose Cheruiyot, Joseph Tengelei, Benson Koech, David Kiptoo, Lydia Cheromei and Julius Chelule. (age 14-18 year)

(complied by Joseph Ngure and Brother Colm O’Connell)

Mon : am (men) 8-9 km and stretching
am (women) 6-7 km and stretching

pm (men) Long run 45-60 minutes (12-14 km)+excercises
pm (women) Long run 45-60 minutes (10-12 km)+exercises

Tue : am (men) 8 km 27-30 minutes
am (women) 6 km 25 minutes

pm (men/women) 10 munutes w/up,Fartlek for 60-75 minutes – 2 minutes        hard/3 minutes easy or 3 minutes hard, 2 minutes easy+exercises

Wed : am (men) 9 km pace endurance 60 % and flexibility
am (women) 7 km pace endurance 60 % and flexibilitypm (men/women) Circuit training 4×2 min each, 3×2 min each. Then 100     meteres striding plus long strides for 45 minutes
Thu : am (men/women) Long slow 60 minutes over mixed terrainpm (men/women) 15 min. runs. Then diagonal drills for 30-35 minutes, 10 minutes dynamics
Fri : am (men) 8 km easy 30 %
am (women) 6 km easy 30 % plus dynamicspm (men/women) Hill reps. 120-200 meters x 14 at 60 % pace.
Sat : am (men/women) striding for 40 minutes over 100-120 metrespm (men/women) Competition or speed play over 1-1 mins. or 500 meters
Sun : am (men) easy 8 km
am (women) easy 6 kmpm (men/women) active rest

Comment by Marius : St. Patrick High School is located about 35 minutes drive from Eldoret (2150 meters altitude) and is around 2500 meters above sea level. It is very hilly and all training is done on soft red cinder. If you look at the training program,  from the experience I have had when visiting Iten training camp – and the talks Frank Evertsen has had with O’Colm (O’Colm has also visited Frank in Norway)  – all long runs, except the one labeled “easy 30 %” and “the long slow run in terrain”,  is AT running. Even for these very young ones.

Twice a week before the real racing season starts (spring) the athletes go down to around 1000 meters (in the Valley only 20 minutes drive) to do speed work. So “high-low” training has hit Kenya as well :-)

It is also interesting that the home of 800 meter runners like Wilson Kipketer and Kimutai emphasizes speed work so much. Lots of drills and striding  – even as main workouts. That might be one of the reasons why Kenyas top 800 meter runners come from St.Patrick. If you look at the program, they run 13 sessions and one “active rest” at very young age – and at high speed. The “fartlek” on Tuesday I observed in 1999 and it was VO2 max training. So in one week, they have 2 Vo2 max sessions (Tuesday and Saturday) 2-3 speed sessions (Wednesday and Thursday, plus partly Saturday morning) and one speed endurance session (hill reps on Friday). This comes in addition to the 4 AT sessions/week (the “long runs”) and two easy runs (am Friday and am Thursday……even though I would suggest that this last one does not go very easy at the end :-) )….so there you have it……the Kenyan training at a young age. AT training, speed and Vo2 max sessions….and competitions year around almost….try it on 14 year old Norwegians or Americans and let them enjoy…….at 2500 meters altitude :-)

For the spring training in Iten and more info on St.Patrick High School : look at the web page . This page adds some good stuff to the program I have shown you here (that I got down in Kenya from a friend). On the page you can also see the all time best list for former St. Patrick High School students in the 800 meters (as of 1996 – later Kimutai has run 1.42s and Kipketer 1.41low :-) ) :

St. Patrick High School (almuni) All time 800 m. bests

1. Wilson Kipketer – 1:41.83 (96) / 1:46.5 in (90)
2. Benson Koech – 1:43.17 (94) / 1:44.77 World Jun in 92 – School Record
3. David Kiptoo – 1:43.38 (96) / 21.5, 47.5 & 52.4H in 1985
4. Mike Boit – 1:43.57 (76) / 1:48.7 in 1969
5. Joseph Tengelei – 1:43.57 (95) / 46.8 in 1988
6. Cosmos Sielei – 1:45.38 (73) / 3:56.2 for 1500m in 1969
7. Japheth Kimutai – 1:45.4 (96) No. 2 on school list with 96 time
8. Kipkoech Cheruiyot – 1:46.46 (86) / 1:47.8 in 1984
9. Peter Rono – 1:46.66 (88) / 3:39.2 for 1500m in 1985

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