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Kenya 2015 – New Year

January 7, 2015

I’m halfway through my training stint here in Iten, Kenya. So far it’s gone well and I feel my fitness improving.

I’ve been training with a marathon group most days, which includes Gilbert Kirwa (2:06), Evans Ruto (2:07), Josephat (2:09), Silas Kipruto (59 half). There are about 20 core guys and the group swells to about 50 on some runs.


Here is their typical week:


6:00AM – 8-10km easy (~5:00/km)

9:30AM – 18.2km hard (3:22-3:32/km average)*



6:00AM – 8-10km easy (~5:00/km)

9:45AM – Fartlek (something such as 13 x 3 min / 1 min jog)**



6:15AM – 19km (~4:00/km)

PM – some guys run easy



6:00AM – 8-10km easy (~5:00/km)

9:45AM – Fartlek (something such as 20 x 1min / 1min jog)



6:15AM – 20km (~4:00/km)

PM – I suspect some guys run easy (?)



6:15AM – 24-38km ***



Day off for most (or easy run)



*On Monday for the 18.2km loop the group can be as large as 50 runners and when they average 3:22/km there’s only about 8 left by the end. Most will finish within 6 minutes but there are also many who fall off and jog home. The loop mainly descends for the first 6km and finishes at a higher point than the start. It has 200+ meters of climbing and at 2390m it’s quite tough.

**On Tuesday fartlek they’ll say they’re only going to run “60%” or “75%” “speed” depending on how hard Monday was. However, there are always a few guys who didn’t have a good one the day before to push the pace. On the cool-down walk sometimes arguments ensue about who pushed the intervals, or rests, too fast.

Tuesday will change to a track session come February, and if I remember correctly the Monday run isn’t as fast before a track session.

***The long run usually gets down to 4:00/km after a few km and either stays around there or gets down to 3:20/km if it’s supposed to be a hard one that week.

I usually place myself at the back of the pack as many Kenyans shuffle in front of me because they don’t like being behind a mzungu. I wait for the uphills to pass the Kenyans as they can’t do anything about it if they aren’t fit enough. Today, Arne Gabius (German 13:12, 2:09:30) ran in the pack and towards the end of the run he was funneled out the back with me.

The problem with the back of the pack is there is a lot of dust. The other option is staying tight to the runner in front but that comes with the risk of twisted ankles on the rough roads. Every once in a while I’ll just meet with a couple other guys (or solo) so I don’t have to inhale so much dust.

Only the core group meets for the fartlek sessions and they know me, which means I can stay in the pack without being passed and funneled out the back, if I can manage hang on. So far I’ve barely hung on to the back of the fartlek sessions, which means I need to pick up the pace to re-group after the interval. There are a bunch in the same boat as me.

I didn’t bother showing up for the Tuesday fartlek yesterday after running hard for over an hour on Monday. After talking to some of the guys I wasn’t the only one to skip it.

This week is going to be a bit different because Evans and Silas are running Mumbai marathon on Jan 18 and they are tweaking the training to peak in 11 days. Some of the group will do one last long run on Thursday and the rest of us will do a fartlek session (supposedly 2 min/1 min).

I’ll post this now and then hopefully add photos if internet is good enough…

Asbel Kiprop doing some 800’s at the track.



Cheploch Gorges are a 50 minute drive from Iten.



  1. January 7, 2015 9:05 am

    Hi Reid – I’ve never heard of doing doubles just 3.5 hrs apart – Is this a Kenyan thing or is it common elsewhere?

    • reidcoolsaet permalink*
      January 9, 2015 2:57 am

      I’ve never heard of it either before I came to Kenya. Except for athletes who sleep in and then have their main session at 3:30 😉

  2. pbfvoo permalink
    January 7, 2015 10:42 am

    thanks for keeping us all in the loop as to how your training is going reid – sounds like you’re settling in nicely again!

  3. January 7, 2015 11:06 am

    What was Kipruto doing the 24-38km Saturday run in? If they only drop to 3:20 or 5 min mile pace, is he targeting 2:11?

    • reidcoolsaet permalink*
      January 7, 2015 11:38 am

      Rough roads, hills and 2390m of elevation. 3:20/km is not targeting 2:11.


  4. January 15, 2015 10:53 am

    Just saying hello Reid. Glad things are going well. Love reading all the good running stuff. Thanks.

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