Learning to run like Kenyan athletes, who are renowned for their exceptional long-distance running abilities, involves a combination of physical training, mental discipline, and lifestyle adjustments.
Here are some key aspects to consider.
Endurance Training: Kenyan runners are known for their incredible endurance, a result of consistent and rigorous training. To build endurance, you should gradually increase your mileage each week. This can be done by adding more running sessions or by extending the length of each run. The focus should be on consistent, moderate-paced running rather than short, intense bursts. It's essential to listen to your body and avoid overtraining, which can lead to injuries.
High Altitude Training: Many Kenyan runners train at high altitudes, which has been shown to improve performance at sea level. Training at high altitude increases the body's production of red blood cells, thereby enhancing oxygen delivery to the muscles. If high altitude training isn't possible, you can simulate its effects through specific endurance and breathing exercises.
Running Technique: Paying attention to your running form is crucial. Kenyan runners are often noted for their efficient running style, which includes a relaxed posture, a forward lean, and a midfoot strike. You can work on improving your technique by focusing on maintaining a relaxed upper body, a consistent stride pattern, and ensuring your feet land directly under your body.
Strength and Flexibility Training: Incorporating strength training exercises, especially for the core and leg muscles, can significantly improve running performance. Additionally, regular stretching and flexibility exercises can reduce the risk of injuries and improve overall running efficiency.
Nutrition and Hydration is Vital for Runners: A balanced diet rich in carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats is vital for endurance runners. Kenyan runners often consume a diet rich in complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, and local vegetables. Staying hydrated is also crucial, especially during long runs.
Mental Toughness and Discipline: Mental strength is as important as physical training. Kenyan runners often exhibit great discipline and a strong work ethic. Setting clear goals, maintaining a positive mindset, and being consistent with your training are key aspects of developing mental toughness.
Learning from Others: Watching and learning from experienced runners can be invaluable. If possible, join a running club or group where you can train with more experienced runners. You can also study videos of Kenyan runners to observe their technique and training methods.
Remember, while emulating the training methods of Kenyan runners can be beneficial, it's essential to tailor your training to your individual needs and abilities. Patience and consistency are key, as improvements in running performance often take time to manifest.
Our Kenyan Athletics Training Academy (KATA) in Thika Kenya (one hour outside of Nairobi) is a unique Running Camp. Our KATA staff Kenyan athletes are training to become professional runners (some already are) and to help our guests achieve their goals. Your time with our Kenyan Runner Athletes will greatly accelerate your running ability and help you reach your running goals.