Having a Kenyan coach is much more valuable than buying Kenyan jerseys and bracelets

Steven Vanlancker (centre) training in Iten, Kenya
“I am surprised that it had to take me over 6,000km of traveling to finally understand what “easy” really meant,” Steven Vanlancker told me as we sat and sipped some hot tea outside on a hot afternoon at Iten Club in Kenya.



Steven is from Belgium and is one of the runners that I coach online and who at times borders on nagging with many questions whenever I give him a program for the week. Often, he would want to know the exact pace to use in each one of the runs I give him. So, when he came to Kenya, did a few runs, noticed that an easy pace on some routes can sometimes get faster than hard runs on some routes; he then realized the need to use feeling for his runs rather than follow the pace on his watch!

Trying to keep up with Eliud Kipchoge and group on track during the INEOS 1:59 challenge training

I am deeply indebted to Eliud Kipchoge’s coaches and training group for allowing me to join them in most of their training runs, especially the track intervals. Despite it being such a rare chance, a spectacular experience, and a great learning opportunity, it is obviously not an easy task trying to keep up with this group in training.



800m is simply 2 laps on a standard 400m track. But, trust me. You will easily lose count of the two laps when you do your best to stick with Eliud Kipchoge’s group during their interval training. It has happened to me a number of times. The good thing is that the runners would finish the intervals ahead of you and you will see them stop running and you will know exactly where to stop as well.

Joshua Cheptegei won the men’s 5000m Diamond League title in Zurich after the race was turned into a football match

Joshua Cheptegei at the Zurich Diamond League meeting. Photo by organizers
Having shown great form in the 5,000m and 3000m races leading up to the diamond league final in Zurich, the 5000m title was expected by many fans to go to one of the Ethiopian runners; Selemon Barega, Telahun Bekele, Yomif Kejelcha and Hagos Gebrhiwet.



However, no sooner had the race started than some of the protagonists started to trail the rest of the field from behind. Barega was holding the tail of the whole pack. Slightly ahead of him was Kejelcha.

How to tell when you are in great form to run a marathon well

Mary Keitany training in Iten
There are so many methodologies that athletes use to tell when they are finally in their right form to race well. Some may not be very common. For example, I normally just hold my wrist with the other hand and tell what kind of form I am during my training. Others compare themselves against their training colleagues.



Below are the most common signs that many athletes tend to agree on as the most common indicators of someone in good form to go out and run a great race.

1. Craving for food

There are days when runners seem to find any foodstuff they taste, or even just think about, are sweeter than they have usually been. I know of some interesting stories that have involved food in some training destinations around here, especially after some days of hard training.

Six reasons why Dennis Kimetto was sure to break the world record for marathon in 2014

Dennis Kimetto talking with Justin Lagat in Kapng'etuny, Kenya.
With 4 days to go before the Berlin Marathon in 2014, I caught up with Dennis Kimetto in Kapng'etuny, Kenya as he finalized on his training before heading out to Berlin. He is a man of few words, but the few words he told me, supported by hard facts, made me wonder whether the world marathon record was not as good as broken.



First of all, the weather predicted for that Sunday (the 28th of September 2014) in Berlin would be more favorable than the previous year when Wilson Kipsang broke the record.

Joyciline Jepkosgei, the world record holder in 10K and half marathon to make her marathon debut in New York

Joyciline Jepkosgei after setting a new world record for the half marathon
Joyceline Jepkosgei will be running the marathon distance for the first time at the New York City Marathon in November. It is understandable when the focus is at times given to other athletes coming to run here, given the depth of the elite field. But, it is worth noting that with world records in the 10km and half marathon distances, Jepkosgei will surely be one of the biggest stars to watch out for here. 




Many reigning world champions will not defend their titles in Doha

Men's 10,000m race at the 2017 London World Championships
From the new IAAF rules on testosterone that has affected the women’s events from the 400m to the 1500m distances, to some of the 2017 medalists like Mo Farah and Usain Bolt moving away from track running, to other defending champions being injured and uncertain of participating at the Doha world championships, this year’s world championships seem to be very open in many of the track events. It remains to be seen whether a good number of the 2017 world champions will defend their titles.