What is the secret to running fast? Why are the Kenyans so fast? There are books written about Kenyan runners and so many people are trying to figure out why they are so superior. The fact is, they work hard, they eat well and they want to be the best. They are placed in an environment where running is there life. When they start primary school at the age of 6 years old they run two plus miles to school everyday. Then they run home for lunch and then back to school and home again. Some of these kids are running at least 8 miles a day from the start of age 6, in altitude! These people are in phenomenal shape. They are extremely lean because they run so much and they eat very healthy. They do not have the processed food and the ample amounts of sugar that we have in the states. I have been here over a week and have not had dessert once. It is not available unless you go out of your way to find it. When the kids begin to focus on training, once they get a bit older, their cardiorespiratory system are already pretty developed. They have such a strong aerobic base that once they start training and focusing they are destined to suceed. The terrain here in Iten is perfect for running. Soft, rolling red dirt roads that go on for miles and miles and in nearly 8000 feet of elevation. These people are strong and fit! I look around and I see many runners with poor form and running with a slow cadence but they are still smoking fast. Most do not have the recourses or the knowledge to fix imbalances or injuries that arise. They just run and they run hard all the time. The only knowledge they have about running or injury prevention is gained from other athletes or from what they have been told. If anything, Kenyans should not be as fast as they are because they do not have the recourses and advantages that we Americans have at home. There are no physical therapists to fix them when they get injured. They don’t have exercise physiologist and psychologist to help optimize their training. Like I said before, they just run and they run hard all the time. Here is a typical Kenyan training week which is actually not too different from many runners I know: Monday: am- longish hard run- progressive and finishing hard. pm- easy shake out run Tuesday: am- Speed on the track. pm- easy shake out run Wedneday: am- mid distance run easyish. pm- easy shake out run Thurdsday: am- fartlek. pm- easy shake out run Friday: Mid distance run or hill repeats. pm- easy shake out run Saturday: am- Long run. pm- easy shake out run. Sunday: OFF- Rest The shake out runs are done very slowly. Like a shuffle almost. Anywhere from 8:30-10 min pace but the morning runs are all relatively hard especailly Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday runs. The others are ran according to how their bodies are holding up. Many do core strength on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and will do unstructured weights inbetween. I would definitely structure the core training differently if I were the trainer here. I would focus more on injury prevention and optimizing their fitness. Their philosophy is “no pain, no gain.” There are no modifications and form as not the priority. Quantity over quality around here. I have lot’s of advice in this area. Kenyans are fast not because they know something that we don’t. Quite the oppostite. We definitely know a whole lot more about the body and training but maybe that is our crux. We think to much. Once again, the Kenyans are extremely fit, healthy people who just want to be the best and they train hard! They have hundreds of people to train with who are all trying to be the best. If one person gets lazy or injured then there is someone else right there, trying to get in and be better than the other. They have very few distractions. They focus on running, sleeping and eating and that is it. It is there life. Running is what they do and they do it well. Train hard or go home! Blessings
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