This week I’m giving an example of my typical week’s training. It does vary a little from week to week as the season progresses, but the period of training I’m in just now will last for roughly one month.
To give an insight not only into a typical day I’m having out here, I’ll describe how my day will go today. My day is broken up into three training session, with some time to eat and rest in between.
The day starts off not too different to how it does when I’m at home in Edinburgh or in Portlaoise. I’m up at 6am every morning except Sundays, because I have to be up early to get the first run of the day started. The morning run is only a light jog, but it helps to loosen me out for the day.
More importantly, I can ascertain how the previous day’s training went and check if I have any new aches, pains or niggles that need to be addressed. It takes me between two and three hours to digest breakfast, so starting as soon after 6am as possible allows me enough time to digest it before the training session later in the day.
The 60 minute morning run can vary quite a bit in how far and how fast I run. It’s an easy run, but some days I find running at 4 minutes per km easy, other days it’s not, so like most of my runs it’s done to feel.
I’m usually fine after all the easy runs, so they shouldn’t take anything out of me. The morning run is followed by a lazy breakfast of porridge and some fruit. After breakfast the real Kenyan lifestyle starts to take over. If I was at home I would be rushing to work, but out here I usually sit about for an hour or so chatting or watching some DVDs after breakfast. The vast majority of Kenyans will try and run again before noon. In keeping with tradition, I’ve adapted quite well to this.
At 9.30am I leave our house for the gym. It only takes ten minutes, but you’re always going to meet someone you know, and that means you have to stop and greet them and chat for a little bit in keeping with the Kenyan lifestyle. By 10am it’s time to start the second run of the day. Today is just a medium pace run for 40 minutes. Easy running for me means I should be able to talk while I’m running and that my heart rate doesn’t go above 130. Medium pace means talking is very difficult; I can talk, but no sentences, and my heart rate is usually between 140-165.
After the 40 minute run it’s back to the gym for an hour of stretching. That might sound like quite a lot, and it most likely sounds very boring too. in truth, it is very boring, but it’s not all that much either. Running up to and over 100 miles a week takes its toll on the body, and so stretching is a vital part of the weekly routine. It’s easy to stretch out here, because I’ve so much time, but when you’re working full-time back home it’s almost impossible to stretch for an hour at a time.
After stretching for 60 minutes, some core work is always a welcome distraction. I usually try to spend at least 40 minutes doing core work each session. Having some previous injuries means I know my strengths and weaknesses, and so the core work allows me to spend some time strengthening these areas.
I’ll usually try grab something to eat even before I leave the gym, as this saves time before I have to start the next session. Today shouldn’t be a problem as I’ve no more runs to do, just gym work, which I can do an hour after eating.
Again, all the training takes its toll on the body, and so regular physiotherapy is a must for me. I have been getting physio at least once every five days, but sometimes it can be as often as once every two days. The physio I have been seeing is Dutch. He works with all the top Kenyan runners, and so it’s always exciting to see who will be at the clinic when you get there.
There are three physio tables in his room and they are occupied from 9am until 7pm six days a week, and on Sundays until 2pm. When I was here last year getting some treatment from Jereon, the Dutch physio, he was just finished treating Wilson Kipsang (2.04 for the marathon). The other athletes he was treating while I was there were Mary Keitany (2.19 for the marathon), whom I had a great chat with about the civil war that broke out in Kenya a few years ago. The third athlete getting treatment was Abel Kirui (double world marathon champion). Speaking to all these world champions and world class athletes almost makes up for the pain of the treatment, which is very painful.
Imagine going for physio and the other two tables in the room are occupied by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, two of the current best soccer players in the world, and that’s what it’s like getting treatment here every week.
After physio I’ll head straight back to the gym to start another stretching routine, which includes a short jog on the treadmill to warm up for the weights session. The weights I do are specific to myself, and to the events I do. I’ll rarely life big weights, as I do not need to bulk up, and I really do not need any extra muscle mass. The weights are more for resistance work, and to help the micro fibres strengthen rather than help the muscles grow.
After the gym it’s time to relax after the day’s work, and eat without having to worry about the next training session. We cook all out own meals on a gas cooker. Most of the food we cook, and eat is grown locally, and so there is no processed food in my diet right now, which is great. By the time you’re finished dinner, it’s still not very late, but the work done means you’re ready to sleep by 10pm, and it usually doesn’t take long for me to drift off.