Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Shock To The System..

So on Monday 25th April 2011 I did my first days work at the Alton Sports Running shop in Farnham. Luckily as it was a bank holiday I only had to work from 11a.m. to 4 p.m. Then on Tuesday I started to work for the Run-Fast Sports management company in their office in London, where I will be working until I go back to Kenya in a month or so.

With Regard to training I enjoyed a week off last week, this week I have been and will be doing some easy running. I still haven't worked out my training/racing plans for the future but should get this sorted in the next few weeks.

As pretty much everyone in the world knows it's the big wedding on Friday and as I'm now living in London I will take my Kenyan housemates along to the palace to see if we can get a glimpse of the happy couple. Doubt we will but it should be a good atmosphere, if it rains we won't go as I think the Kenyans must be allergic to rain as they never go out in it at all costs!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011


I'm currently enjoying my recovery and this splendid weather we have at the moment. Yesterday I took a long walk up to Highgate to have dinner and a few drinks with Mr Ben Moreau which was really nice. It was about 6 miles to his place from the Barbican and my legs feel much better for it.

Today I'm going to take a stroll around London and maybe pop into a few of the free museums, tomorrow I travel up to Essex to visit the folks, Sunday it's over to Hampshire for a days work for Mr Toby Lambert then back to London to start work in the Run-Fast office. I need to work for a while just to top up the bank balance and get enough money to pay for my flights back to Kenya. One of the good things about living out in Iten compared to the UK is the cost of living. I think a good example is the cafe in Iten where you can get a cup of tea and a chapati for roughly 20 pence, something similar in the UK, maybe Costa or Starbucks and you are looking at £2 - £3, about 10 times as much! And this goes for most things, I think if it costs say £1000 a month to live in the UK you can live in Iten for about £100 a month, so although I gave up my full time job, my living expenses are so small it's not really a problem.

I'm starting to put together a plan for the rest of the year with regard to racing, training and how much time to spend at altitude but there is no rush and I will take my time and try and get it right this time.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Down but not out!

Although I find this very hard to say, for those that don't know my result in the 2011 Virgin London Marathon it was 2.28.... obviously not what I wanted!!

So now is the time to look at the reasons why....

First let me tell you how the race unfolded. My plan was to go through half way in between 67.30 and 68mins giving myself a good chance if all went well to go sub 2.16 and achieve the World Championship team qualifying time. The first 4 or 5 miles were fine and I was spot on pace but after 7 or 8 miles my legs started to fatigue, by 10 miles they were very tired and I knew it was going to be a very long day at the office!! I hit halfway in 70.22 and pretty much jogged the second half in 78minutes, this did give me the opportunity to enjoy the atmosphere of the London Marathon although I got a killer stitch in the last two miles loosing me another couple of mins.

I think there are a few reasons behind this result. The first few are quite minor but all had an effect on the day:

  1. The stitch I got in the last two miles probably lost me about two minutes, as this was after running for 2.15 when I should have finished I'm not too worried about this.
  2. I have had a niggiling abdominal injury ever since I have been out in Kenya which definitely hampered my running in the second half, hopefully I can get this sorted quickly and it won't be an issue in future races.
  3. This is the big one and I'm 99% sure is the reason for the result yesterday. Iten is at 8000ft altitude and pretty much all the running is up and down hills, this makes it very hard to run even at marathon pace. During the last three months the longest I have run at marathon pace is 5km (roughly 16 minutes). Looking back on things if my legs have only run for 16minutes at marathon pace there was no way I was going to be able to run at that pace for 2 hours and 15 minutes!!
So what next? The top British finisher in yesterdays London Marathon was Lee Merrien, I know lee quite well so have seen him train and roughly know what he does. If I look at his training, he spent roughly 4 weeks in Iten, came back to the UK for a good length of time then back to Iten for another 4 week period, so he got the benefit of the altitude but also had the opportunity to do the fast running when he was back in the UK. As I have said many times before this is an experiment and I'm learning all the time, I will be going back out to Iten but next time I will go for blocks of between 4 and 6 weeks with the same amount of time spent at sea level so I can get the speed work done.

I've still got to work out my plans for the rest of the year but the rough plans is to get my half marathon time down to something respectable and then go for a fast marathon in the Autumn.

One last thing I would like to add is a massive thanks to all the support I got before, during and after the race it was truly overwhelming :-)

Friday, 15 April 2011

The Nerves Start

Yesterday I became very restless around the flat and a little on edge, the first signs of nerves I think. In general I have been very relaxed about this marathon, even my mum commented that she thought I looked quite relaxed about it. Obviously I want to run well but I don't feel any pressure that I have to perform or all this change in my life will have been a waste of time, it is just another step in the adventure and I'm really looking forward to standing on the start line on Sunday.

I was featured in a really good article in Athletics Weekly this week so if anyone hasn't seen it go out and buy a copy! The article was written by Adharanand Finn who moved out to Iten at a similar time to myself. He is writing a book about the Kenyan runners which I believe comes out next year, should be really good and you never know maybe he will be the one to discover the "secret" of the Kenyan runners!

I had a good last light session on Tuesday and all has been well since then, so I think I can go into the marathon fit and healthy which in marathon running is one of the toughest things to get right.

Waiting for our lift home after the Tuesday Night Session
My very good friend Edwin Kipyego arrived from Kenya today, he is racing Leonard Komon in the Nice half marathon on Sunday, I'm really excited to see what he runs, I think if he gets it right then sub 60 could be on the cards and if he beats Komon it will really put him on the map as one of the worlds best half marathon runners.

So two more sleeps until the big day! If I don't blog tomorrow I would like to wish everyone else racing this weekend the best of luck and if anyone wants to meet up for a drink after the marathon I will be in the Tower Hotel hopefully celebrating!

Tom Kiprop

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Welcome Home Legs...

Finally my legs have returned from Kenya.... This morning on my run I felt light, fast, relaxed and happy :-)

Today the Run-Fast flat turned into the Run-Fast Kinyozi (barbers) as all the guys were looking like bushmen (there words not mine) so out came the clippers and off went the hair

I also found the picture I was after that shows Gordon Mugi winning the World Juniors

Gordon beating Bekele in World Juniors

Monday, 11 April 2011

Counting Down The Days....

Less than a week until the big day now, all the hard work has been done and it's just a case of making sure I'm ready to race next Sunday. I did some nice runs over the weekend, on Saturday we trained up by the start of the marathon at Greenwich park and on Sunday I ran from Stratford through the Olympic park back to central London, the Olympic stadium is really impressive and we are planning on taking a tour of it in the next few weeks. This week just some easy running with a light session on Tuesday evening.

We had some of the Run-Fast team running at the Newham 10km on Sunday getting second in the mens race (loosing out on the win by the width of a vest) and the winner in the womens race. The winning times weren't particularly quick just over 30 for the men and just over 34 for the women. We also had two guys racing a half marathon out in Austria and they came 2nd and 3rd again not with particularly quick times. Next week there are lots of races we have people racing in Germany and France with our two best half marathon guys (Edwin Kipyego and Sammy Kigen, both 61min best times) looking for fast times in Nice.

Start of the Newham 10km 2011

On a side note i've been getting some Swahili lessons from Gordon and actually I'm learning more here than I did in Kenya!

Thursday, 7 April 2011


Yesterday I achieved one of my athletic ambitions, to be featured on the front page of All last night I was trying to come up with some inspirational words of wisdom so that I could get “quote of the day” but the only thing that I came up with is that I am c**p at writing so I gave up!

Spring is definitely in the air here in London which makes running all the more enjoyable. I always thought London wouldn't be very good for running but it turns out to be really good, a ten minute jog from our flat and you are on the canal, beautifully flat and not long until you can run through some parks. The Kenyans seem to train slightly differently when they are in the UK, maybe it's because of the low altitude but they tend to do all their runs very progressively starting out at a jog finishing pretty quick where back in Kenya if it is an easy run it stays very easy the whole way.

As most people could guess it's a lot more expensive to live in London than it is in Iten so the guys and girls I'm living with have made sure they get the best bargains in town, yesterday they asked if I wanted to go to the market with them which I did unknowing that we had to walk for an hour just to get there, I'm not sure if it was worth it just to save 50 pence on a bunch of bananas!

I've got a slight problem with some of my inner core muscles so I'm just taking it extra easy until the weekend to give them enough time to heal, I'm sure it won't be a problem but this close to the marathon there is no point taking risks and pushing things.

On a side note one of the Kenyans I amcurrently living with is a guy called Gordon Mugi who beat Kenenisa Bekele in the 2000 World Junior Championship 5000m:

I'm trying to find a picture of the race and when I do will post it.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Feeling Better...

So I have been back from Kenya for 4 days now and I am starting to really feel the benefits. Like I have said before this is all an experiment for me, I'm trying to work out what is the optimum time to come back from altitude before I race. Everyone is different and that's why I think it is hard to find some definitive advise on the best time to come down. I have found that I tend to take a good few days to recover from a long travel and definitely won't do an important race straight from altitude, maybe a low key race to help get the travel out of my legs as I did in the race the other day.

Yesterday I had my first track session back in the UK, we (the Kenyan Run-Fast team and me) travelled to Mile End track for a session of 5 x 1000m/400m all off 75 seconds. As it is less than two weeks until the marathon I made sure I ran the reps totally under control "train don't strain", but still was running about 5 seconds quicker on the 1000m reps than I had been at altitude, also I noticed during the recovery my heart rate/breathing got under control really quick. After the session we went straight back to the flat for a well earned dinner of ugali and cabbage stew.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

"Little Kenya"

I'm now back in the UK and my second experiment into the effects of coming down from altitude seem to have been a success. I raced the Dartford 10 mile road race less than 48 hours after arriving in the country. As the race was only two weeks away from the London Marathon my plan was to run at marathon pace. It turned out to be quite an undulating route but I still managed to hit marathon pace. The first half of the race my legs didn't feel great but during the second half they felt much better and marathon pace felt quite comfortable. I lost out in a sprint finish to Andy Rayner but it was good to have a real race and it was more about how the race felt rather than the result.

I have now moved into the Run-Fast flat in London which is good because I can still train with the Kenyans and eat all the same food as when I was out in Kenya. Yesterdays training was interesting as although my legs were tired from the race I felt really good. I am hoping that everyday from now until the marathon I keep feeling better and get to race day fresh and ready to race.

I think for a marathon runner these last two weeks are the worst, trying to get your training right so you maintain your shape but aren't tired when it comes to the race, trying to eat enough but not too much or too little and trying to avoid any illnesses or injuries.