While most of us will never be able run like Eliud Kipchoge, understanding his training may help us become better runners in our own right.
A full month of Eliud Kipchoge’s training in the lead up to the Berlin Marathon was recently published, you can find it here. Kipchoge follows a very simple structure to his training, he runs seven days a week and doubles on five of these days giving himself two afternoon rests. Each week he runs three distinct workouts being his interval track session, long tempo run and fartlek session. The remainder and the majority of his running is described as easy or moderate running and in these sessions Kipchoge runs well within himself to recover and build an aerobic foundation.
So how fast does the fastest marathoner of all time go on an easy day? Well as it turns out not that fast. Kipchoge often runs a 10km easy run in 40 min or at 4 min/km pace. This is really easy for a guy whose marathon pace is 2:55 min/km.
So what can the average runner learn from Kipchoge’s day pace? Average runners of all abilities and experience levels often run their easy runs too fast. What this does is not assist recovery and they spend too much time fatigued and not absorb training load and improve.
So what is your Kipchoge easy pace?
Relative to his marathon pace Kipchoge’s easy pace is 27% slower than his marathon pace.
Runner Marathon Pace Easy Pace
Kipchoge 2:55 min/km 4 min/km
2 hour 30 min marathon 3:33 min/km 4:30 min/km
3 hour marathon 4:16 min/km 5:25 min/km
3 hour 30 min marathon 4:59 min/km 6:19 min/km
4 hour marathon 5:41 min/km 7:13 min/km
4 hour 30 marathon 6:24 min/km 8:17 min/km
Kipchoge runs his five weekly afternoon easy runs at this pace and four times a week his aerobic runs are at a similar pace but for distances between 17 – 22km. For him this pace is very easy, just as the paces for your goal marathon above will look very easy.
If you are running your easy days too quick you’ll likely not run your harder workouts as effectively as they could be. Slowing down on your easy days will let you absorb training and let it take effect.
While the world was rightly captivated by the amazing world record breaking run of Eliud Kipchoge on Sunday, it was Josphat Boit who had the best seat in the house being by the great Kenyans side for 25km in Berlin.
Josphat Boit is the 34 year old little known Kenyan runner credited with helping Kipchoge create history in Berlin. By running standards Boit is a quality elite middle – long distance runner, he has a marathon personal best of 2:12:52 set in Boston 2012 and a half marathon best of 61:33.
Earlier this year he ran the Kenyan Commonwealth Games trials in the 5000m missing selection by finishing 7th in a credible 13:38. Since then he has gained citizenship to the United States and will now run for the USA. As a Kenyan athlete he is one of hundreds of good runners, as a US athlete he will be an Olympic hopeful.
Boit was chosen by Eliud Kipchoge to assist in pacemaking for the Kenyan’s world record attempt in Berlin, however may not have known what he was about to be part of. As marathon pacing jobs go, not everything always goes to plan. Kipchoge started Berlin with three pacemakers guiding him through the opening 10km in world record pace before losing one, and then another at 15km as Kipchoge sensed the pace had dropped and asked for more.
From 15km, Boit was the only man left by Kipchoge’s side and at this stage slightly behind their halfway target time of 61:00. Kilometres 16 through 21 were the fastest of the first half of the race with Boit rallying to run Kipchoge to halfway in 61:05. In doing so taking 28 seconds off his own half marathon personal best set in the 2014 World Half Marathon championships in Copenhagen.
This clearly took it’s toll on Boit as the next four kilometres were all slower, but only by seconds. Such is the accuracy of Kipchoge’s pacing that every kilometre and every second matter and Kipchoge then increased his speed leaving Boit behind and ran the last 17km alone smashing the world record by 78 seconds.
By Josphat Boit’s standards his 25km was personally a brilliant run, which even more highlights how good Kipchoge was in Berlin. A high quality runner in his own right needed to run a career defining half marathon performance just to keep pace with Kipchoge. I would argue that the moment, and the world record chase drove Boit to be able to give more than he ever has before and the greater cause of running for Kipchoge helped him achieve his own best.
While Josphat Boit will never reach the level of Eliud Kipchoge, he played a large role in this world record. Before the race Kipchoge and his three pacers could be seen huddled together in prayer, preparing as a team for the 42.2km that would await them and Kipchoge’s amazing run into history. For Boit to be able to produce a career best half marathon performance and then hang on for another 4km to support Kipchoge shows the esteem Kipchoge is held and just how much this world record attempt meant to all inside the Kipchoge team.
Marathon running is a highly individual sport, some of the beauty of running is the solitude it allows. Rarely do we get to see or credit a team atmosphere like what happened on Sunday.
Helping Kipchoge achieve marathon immortality required Boit to shine brighter as a runner than he ever has before. The Berlin marathon 2018 certainly brought the best out of Eliud Kipchoge and we will remember this run forever. Josphat Boit certainly played his part and although he will be a footnote in history he will remember this day forever.
Eliud Kipchoge’s world record marathon performance at the Berlin marathon on Sunday was astonishing. The way in which he devastated the old world record running 2:01:39 we will talk about for decades to come. Apart from the time the most impressive part of this run is Kipchoge’s pacing.
A feature of Kipchoge’s 11 marathons is his ultra consistent even pacing. The Berlin marathon 2018 is the most perfect example yet from the brilliant Kenyan and achieved despite his pacemakers faltering much earlier than expected. Pacing during a marathon is very important, being able to remain patient and disciplined in order to give your best effort over the last 10km is essential for running your best regardless of your ability. Kipchoge does this better (and faster) than anyone.
Dennis Kimetto’s former world record of 2:02:57 requires an evenly split kilometre pace of 2:55 min/km over 42.2km of the marathon. The Kipchoge team had made no secret that this would be a world record attempt in the lead up to Berlin. Just days before the race it was announced a half way target time of 61:00 or 2:53 min/km would be asked of pacemakers. Kipchoge clearly wanting to bank a 30-60 seconds for the second half and be under world record pace at half way.
Kipchoge’s kilometre splits don’t tell the full story but they do show his intention to break the world record and how brilliant he was throughout the race.
For the purpose of analysis we will break down Kipchoge’s kilometre splits into the three groups.
Splits in the range of 2:52 – 2:55 – These are world record pace splits
< 2:52 – The kilometres faster than world record pace
>2:55 – Kilometres outside world record pace
When we look deeper at these splits it is clear just how amazing this run was. It is also clear that Kipchoge is aiming to be as evenly paced as possible on or slightly under world record pace and he barely drifts his focus throughout. 27/42 kilometres are within the world record range 2:52 – 2:55.
Kipchoge started very quick with a 2:43 min/km opening split, good enough for a sub 1:55 marathon. He and his pacemaker quickly hit their rhythm though after putting the breaks on in 2km with 2:58 they went through the next 7km in the world record range. There was a brief moment at kilometres 10, 13 & 14 which were all 2:57, this coinciding with pacers dropping back after 15km leaving Kipchoge with just one man to pace him. From here the pace got quicker to halfway as they chased the target time of 61:00 missing by just 5 seconds.
When Kipchoge’s pace dropped outside world record pace at 25km after a 2:56 split, Kipchoge’s pacer dropped out leaving him alone for the remaining 17km. Quite remarkably that was the last kilometre outside the world record range. All of the last 17km run alone by Kipchoge are in the world record pace or faster. Kipchoge clearly relished this time alone, just him versus history of the 9km splits he ran under the world record range six of these were after his pacemakers dropped out.
By 40km it was a matter of how much the world record would be broken by and Kipchoge ran his second fastest split with a 2:46 and followed that up to close in 2:50 min/km for the greatest run in history.
Only 6/42km were run slower that the old world record pace. All of these were run with the aid of pacemakers and twice Kipchoge reacted by running quicker with his pacemakers unable to stay with him. Kipchoge effectively broke the marathon world record without the help of pacemakers, his best work was done after they dropped.
There were 9/42km under the world record range. Apart from the lightning quick first kilometre all of these were run when Kipchoge’s pacer was chasing their half way target or Kipchoge was chasing history in the backend of the marathon.
For rivals of Kipchoge it is sobering what the numbers indicate. Kipchoge is able to pace his marathon perfectly and in Berlin 2018 he was better without the aid of pacemakers. Unless Kipchoge himself can improve it, this world record may stand for a long time. One of the greatest moments in sports history.
Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge has quite literally blown the marathon world record away today in Berlin running an astonishing 2:01:39. In the process taking 1 minute 18 seconds off Dennis Kimetto’s 2014 2:02:57 here in Berlin. Many had tipped Kipchoge as the likely heir apparent to the world record after near misses in recent years both here in Berlin and London. Today he made no mistake and tore the record to shreds.
With a relatively small group of pacemakers leading the way Kipchoge was under world record pace from the outset going through 5km in 14:24 and running a very evenly split race to halfway. Kipchoge went through halfway in 61:06 with just one pacer, Josphat Boit left. Kipchoge and his team had set pacers a halfway target time of 61:00 however would have wanted more than just one left with him at this point. Boit was able to get to 25km before dropping out and leaving Kipchoge with and seemingly insurmountable job of 17km alone for the world record.
Most impressively it was here that Kipchoge seized the moment and increased his pace to go through 30km with a 52 second gap to the world record pace and by this stage the world record was definitely under threat. By 40km it was matter of by how much with a sub 2:02 now seemingly possible.
It was history in the making when Kipchoge ran under the iconic Brandenburg Gate over the final kilometre and broke the tape for the greatest marathon run in history. Kipchoge is now 10 wins from 11 marathons including a world record and an Olympic gold medal. Even more impressive from this run is that pacemakers couldn’t get him to the desired 30km mark, meaning Kipchoge lowering this time in the future is certainly possible.
Kipchoge ran the smallest of negative splits with a 61:06 1st half and 60:34 second half. Simply amazing pacing considering most of the second half was Kipchoge versus the ticking clock of the world record . Amos Kipruto was almost 5 minutes behind for second on his marathon debut. A feature of all of Kipchoge’s marathons is his almost perfectly even splits, this one is just another example this, but one that will take some catching.
While the running world will be a buzz about the possibility of a sub 2 hour marathon in the future and how the ‘moon’ has just got closer to the earth. It is hard to gauge whether Kipchoge’s opposition will be inspired or demoralised by his display on the streets of Berlin. Certainly in the marathon world today only Kipchoge can have a conversation with the two hour mark.
Kipchoge has today further stamped his name firmly as the greatest marathon runner of all time. Today in Berlin is unlikely to be bettered by anyone else anytime soon. Quite possibly the greatest run of any distance of all time.