They may seem superhuman, but elite runners struggle with the same issues we have – like how to fuel their training, and how to stay strong during the late stages of a race. Fortunately for them, they’ve found solutions. And fortunately for us, they’re willing to share what works best.
Here are some of the top athlete’s training tips:
“During the off-season we do hill training once a week. It helps with everything: form, speed and strength. I do it at the Union Buildings. There are different inclines. The one I do most takes me about 1:45 to get up. It’s a gradual incline at first and then gets steeper the closer you get to the top. I do several repeats over the course of 40 minutes. For recovery, I jog back down, and then straight up again.”
– Stephen Mokoka, marathon runner.
“Worrying gets you nowhere. If you turn up worrying about how you’re going to perform, you’ve already lost. Train hard, turn up, run your best, and the rest will take care of itself.”
– Usain Bolt, 25, Jamaica, 100m/200m
“The toughest session I do is mile repeats.
I dread them but know they’ll give me the confidence I need. I do 5 x 1600m repeats at faster than marathon race pace, with three-minute recoveries. I do a 4km warm-up before and 4km cool-down afterward. It’s a mainstay of my programme.”
- Tanith Maxwell, 36, Durban, Marathon.
“I tend to run by the clock, by time, rather than in terms of mileage. I’ve never been one to log every kilometre, and work out totals and averages and all the rest.”
– Paula Radcliffe, 38, Great Britain, Marathon
“Running should be about enjoying it, not training by yourself and never seeing anyone else. You’re alone in the race, but I’ve always enjoyed training with people. If I didn’t train with my regular partner Galen Rupp, I’d be out with the Kenyan guys. You have to be picky about who you train with, though – you must be at a similar level, get on well, and both know when to chat and when to shut up!”
– Mo Farah, 29, Great Britain, 5 000m/10 000m
“I like tough workouts. I’m a track runner at heart, so I like it when it’s really intense. One of the sessions I did before last year’s Yokohama Marathon was the 10-K at Soweto. I ran the 10-K in the morning and in the afternoon I did 10 x 1 000m with two minutes’ rest. After that I knew I was in good shape for a marathon.”
– Rene Kalmer, 31, Johannesburg, marathon.
“I practise alternately on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, with distances ranging from 200m to 2K. I run on the track because the markings are precise.”
– Marílson Gomes dos Santos, 34, Brazil Marathon
Training is all good any well, but how do these Olympic athletes eat? Here’s a little look into how our SA runners keep fueled up.