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A Week Of Workouts At Kenya’s Kaptagat Camp

What does a week in the life look like for some of the world's best endurance runners?

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Ever wondered what goes on inside the mysterious Kenyan training camps, which continue to churn out the world’s best distance runners year-in-year-out? NN Running Team gave insight into a week in the life at the renowned Global Sports Communication camp in Kaptagat, Kenya.

Six days a week, 25 of the world’s best distance athletes rise to the sound of a daily 5 to 6 a.m. alarm at the camp. Regardless of whether you’re an upcoming marathoner or an 800m standout, everyone is up and at it early in the morning.

A Week Of Workouts At Kenya's Kaptagat Camp 1
Photo Credit: NN Running Team

The early start leverages Kaptagat’s equatorial climate, where mornings are cooler and free from the day’s heat, thunder, and rain. Athletes, mostly sharing rooms, head to the toilet, put on layers, and walk to the gates to begin training, usually without eating.

Training begins with a medium-length, relatively easy run on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. At 2700m altitude, the undulating hills make even these runs challenging. Heading right out of the gates leads to the Kaptagat forest, with tall trees, ponds, and soft clay paths. 

Athletes typically run on tarmacked roads, especially in bad weather, to avoid injuries. They run in silence, focusing on the task and using only hand signals to communicate hazards.

A Week Of Workouts At Kenya's Kaptagat Camp 2
Photo Credit: NN Running Team

Track Tuesdays

Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays have a different rhythm. On Tuesdays, athletes board mini-busses to a local track, arriving in darkness after their early morning alarms. 

Here, they meet head coach Patrick Sang and his team and receive the day’s session from assistant coaches Richard Metto, Brimin Kipruto, and Enoch Koech.

Warm-ups and drills are followed by intense but controlled track sessions, often covering 15 to 20km.

After the session, a few fist bumps and cool-down laps lead them back to the mini-busses.

Middle-distance runners train later, allowing Sang to oversee both groups. This group, including Faith Kipyegon and Wycliffe Kinyamal, focuses on preparing for explosive movements that differ from the long, steady threshold work of marathon runners.

A Week Of Workouts At Kenya's Kaptagat Camp 3
Photo Credit: NN Running Team

The Long Run

Thursdays are crucial for all athletes, including 800m runners, as it’s long run day. 

Athletes gather at the gates and start in intervals, with slower runners ahead of the elites.

These runs, covering around 40km, include the famous “Boston” loop, which has 500m of elevation gain and overlooks the Great Rift Valley.

Sang follows in a pickup truck, offering guidance on pushing on or easing back. Maurten drinks are shared among the group during the run. When it’s over, some athletes still seem eager to click off a few more miles.

A Week Of Workouts At Kenya's Kaptagat Camp 4
Photo Credit: NN Running Team

Fartlek Day

Saturdays feature a fartlek session, with the group alternating fast and slow sections over rolling terrain. 

For instance, Sang might set an hour of three minutes fast, one minute slow. Athletes like Daniel Mateiko navigate hills and recoveries, pushing their limits in an hour of tactical, game-like running.

When the session ends, they enjoy a well-deserved rest day at home before starting the cycle again on Monday.

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Jessy has been active her whole life, competing in cross-country, track running, and soccer throughout her undergrad. She pivoted to road cycling after completing her Bachelor of Kinesiology with Nutrition from Acadia University. Jessy is currently a professional road cyclist living and training in Spain.

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