Eliud Kipchoge: Training Methods of the double Olympic marathon champion

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The Kenyan marathon star loves his weekly long runs that range between 30-40km which he says helps his 'body respond to running for a very long time and perform in a race.' Here are the secrets that have helped Kipchoge become the fastest in history, and win gold in Rio and Tokyo

When Eliud Kipchoge stepped up to marathon running in 2013, the Kenyan employed an athletics training programme that is now revered as a lesson in consistency and discipline.

His team’s high-altitude camp in Kaptagat in the vast Rift Valley region of the African nation is weaved around three principles: simple, focussed, and hard work.

It helped him become the world’s fastest man over the marathon, and to the Olympic gold medals at the Rio 2016 and Toyko 2020 Games.

Kipchoge loves his long runs, even on 'bad days', and records every one in a notebook, which contains the secrets to his success.

Want to train like the best of the best? Read on for more.

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Where does Eliud Kipchoge train?

Eliud Kipchoge trains in Kaptagat in the Kenyan highlands, that lies at altitude of 2500m above sea level.

In Kenya’s history, Kaptagat was where most of the British colonialists settled, but it is now known to be cradle of some of the best world distance runners, including marathon legend Moses Tanui, Olympic steeplechase champion Brimin Kipruto and many others.

The Global Sports Communication training camp was started by his mentor and coach Patrick Sang, an Olympic silver medallist in the steeplechase.

It is a basic camp that houses around 30 athletes, who reside there for at least five days every week.

That’s also what the simplicity principle hinges on.

The camp has a main building, basic dormitories, a kitchen, dining area, and a small TV and physio room.

“It’s free of distractions, “Eliud told ineos.com about the minimalist camp, where he has spent most of his time over the last 19 years.

“In 2002 we had no running water and used to get our water from a nearby well. But now we have running water and solar panels for heating.”

The athletes, Kipchoge included, do the house chores around the camp and spend most of their free time chatting and relaxing.

 According to Sang, Kaptagat became even more famous after Kipchoge’s marathon success.

“Kaptagat now attracts so many athletes who come here to train and that has a knock-on effect on the economy.

“That’s why we say Eliud is more than an athlete. He is an inspiration in all aspects of life.” Sang told INEOS.com.

How does Eliud Kipchoge train?

Eliud Kipchoge’s training involves a lot of running, some track, and core sessions.

The training drafted by coach Sang mainly involves a morning and an afternoon workout.

According to the marathon handbook, his work out over the course of 5-6 days is typically:

– one long run (30-40km),

– several slow runs,

– two core sessions,

– one strength and conditioning daily,

– and one or two Fartlek sessions (speed session on track).

“The long run, we do once every two weeks,” Sang told NN Running in a documentary.

“The idea is to alternate. [If] the last one we did on a hilly course this time is fairly medium.”

“Long run is crucial for me... It tells my body that you need to run that long,” Kipchoge explained in the documentary.

"The more I do the long run, the more actually my body responds to running for a very long time and for performing in a race.” - Eliud Kipchoge.

The world record holder is known to fully immerse himself in his training sessions.

He is focused.

“The guy is so positive and really focussed,” Sang told the Olympic Channel ahead of Kipchoge’s race against the clock in Vienna in October 2019, when he became the first human to run a sub-two-hour marathon.

"For 18 years, there is no day Eliud has asked me anything about training. He comes to the training place to train and normally we give him the plan for the day on that specific minute,” he continued.

"For 18 years he's never asked for the plan for the year, the plan for the week, the plan for the month, no."

He also values his physio sessions and always travels with his physiotherapist Peter Nduhiu, who greatly admires his work ethic.

“Besides the training program that he does, there are two exercise [core] sessions that he does twice a week, one hour each. Give Eliud the exercise he will do it as is. Even if it is tough. When other guys try to complain he says, ‘no… let’s do it!’”

Who are Eliud Kipchoge’s training partners?

The bulk of his usual training mates at the camp in Kaptagat were part of the team that helped him pace to 1:59:40 at the INEOS Challenge.

They play a crucial role in the 36-year-old’s training program.

“Unless you are a genius, it is impossible to train on your own and achieve the same level of results,” Kipchoge said.

“My best philosophy is that one percent of the whole team, is more crucial than 100% of myself, that’s teamwork.

"I value team work more than anything else,” he told Olympics.com ahead of his title defence in Tokyo.

His close friends and training partners are four-time World Cross Country and World Half-Marathon champion Geoffrey Kamworor and Augustine Choge, a former World junior and youth champion.

There is also two-time World marathon champion Abel Kirui and 2017 world champion Geoffrey Kirui.

Uganda’s Olympic marathon champion Stephen Kiprotich as well as Dutch marathon record holder Abdi Nageeye, are among foreign marathoners who frequently train with Kipchoge.

“I have known Eliud for 17 years and have raced him several times. We competed in the same team at the 2003 World Cross country. He won gold and I was fourth,” Augustine Choge told Olympic Channel ahead of the epic run in Vienna.

“That’s the same year he beat [Hicham] El Guerrouj and [Kenenisa] Bekele [at the World Championships] in Paris. Since then he has been a great friend. He is like my dad or an elder brother to me.”

His training mates appreciate his hard work and how he motivates them to push through.

“We have been training together for many years. He is one of the most disciplined, hardworking athletes in training.

"He is also very simple despite being among the most recognised athletes in the world,” Choge added.

How to watch the men's marathon

The men's Olympic marathon at Sapporo Odori Park took place on Sunday, August 8.

You can watch replays of the action here on Olympics.com later on Sunday (territorial restrictions apply)

For real-time updates on the sporting drama as it unfolds following our Tokyo 2020 live blog here.