This past Sunday Eliud Kipchoge set a new world record in the marathon running 2:01:39. The previous record was 2:02:57 set in 2014. His pace 4:38 minutes per mile or 13 mph. My treadmill doesn’t even go that fast. If you ran that speed for a 5k, you would run a 14:24. He also ran negative splits – the first half of the marathon he ran in 1:01:06, and the second half he ran in 1:00:33. The world record for the half marathon is 58:23, only 2 minutes slower.
Kipchoge is 33 years old and from Kenya where he grew up running to and from school. He has now won 9 consecutive marathons, and he has won a total of 10 of the 11 marathons he has entered. He is also the 2016 Olympic gold medalist in the marathon.
What are his secrets? I think a lot of his success has to do with his state of mind and his attitude. Here are some quotes from him: “Only the disciplined ones in life are free. If you are undisciplined, you are a slave to your moods and your passions.” “It’s not about the legs; it’s about the heart and the mind.” “Pain is nothing more than a mindset.” Finally, one that rings true for myself as well: “When I run, I feel good. My mind feels good. I sleep in a free way, and I enjoy life.”
In terms of his training, Kipchoge does most of his running at 8,000 feet on dirt roads in Kenya. During marathon training, he runs 110-120 miles per week, takes no days off, and runs twice a day 2-3 times per week. Many of his runs are easy to moderate pace, and he does harder sessions every 2-3 days. His workouts consist of anything from 25-mile tempo runs to 30 x 1 minute fast 1 minute easy.
Click here for a short video synopsis of his run in Berlin where he broke the world record this past weekend. It gives me the chills and makes me smile. It is amazing how he ran through the finish line and kept going! It was almost as if he had more to give. There is nothing more motivating than this. I love the focus, triumph, and celebration.
I believe there will come a day when someone breaks the 2-hour barrier in the marathon – perhaps it will be Kipchoge, perhaps it will be another athlete. The world record continues to be broken every few years, and there is significant motivation and drive amongst runners to succeed. The dedication, determination, and relentlessness in these athletes will allow someone to come to the top when the time is right.
Do you think someone will break the 2-hour barrier in the marathon?