Why Eliud Kipchoge trains on a gravel track in Eldoret once a week as he gears up for Paris Olympics

Why Eliud Kipchoge trains on a gravel track in Eldoret once a week as he gears up for Paris Olympics

Abigael Wafula 16:20 - 10.06.2024

Experts have explained why Eliud Kipchoge and his teammates regulary train on a gravel track once a week as preparations for the Paris 2024 Olympics hit top gear.

Eliud Kipchoge's head coach Patrick Sang and training expert Louis Delahaije have explained why the legendary marathoner and his training mates train at the Moi University Law School track in Annex, Eldoret as they gear up for the Olympic games.

Kipchoge will be hoping to claim his third Olympic title in the marathon after securing wins at the 2016 Rio Olympics and the delayed 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games.

His management, the NN Running team, is also making sure the five-time Berlin Marathon champion is in the right shape to achieve his goals. One way has been to normalize training athletes on the gravel track.

Sang explained that the track helps in recovery especially when one is going for tougher sessions and it also does not affect the legs a lot.

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“We are at Moi University, Law School, a place in Eldoret called Annex. This is where most of the athletes do their training. You can see it’s a big group training here.

“Today, we’ve had athletes run the 800m all the way to the marathon. Of course, they come here to do specific sessions, specific to their event.

“The surface is good, I mean generally when you train on tartan or the road and train here, which is a dirt track, the recovery and the stress on the legs is less and recovery for the next hard session is quicker.

“We train here twice in a week for the track runners and for the marathoners, we do it once a week,” the veteran coach said in a documentary posted by NN Running team.

On his part, Delahaije was also quick to note that Eldoret being closer to the equator is a plus for athletes and insisted that competing on such a track reduced the risk of injury. He marveled at always finding athletes running before the crack of dawn.

“When you arrive on the track, let’s say at 6 o’clock, it’s already dark and one of the nice things is there are people running around the track and slowly by slowly, in let’s say, 10-15 minutes, the lights turn on.

“I think, when you look at injuries, it’s much safer to run at a gravel track, like Annex. Obviously, it’s a 400m track and it’s in Eldoret, so it’s a little bit lower than our grounds in Kaptagat. It’s about 2000m of altitude which I think is also perfect to do some speedwork.

“Well, Eldoret is very close to the Equator which means that there is a very stable climate, first of all. The runners also feel comfortable let’s say around 20 degrees. Well, you have that more or less all year round over there,” he added.