nice background article by Canova, but I find it quite interesting that he didn't mention Lornah Kiplagat and her husband Pieter Langerhorst at all in his Iten-story. They did a lot to develop that region. So a little comment fits in, imho.
The influence of the Italian-school in Kenya (Rift valley region) shouldn't be underestimated, but to give almost all credits to Italian coaches and managers isn't quite according to facts.
German Volker Wagner (Loroupe's manager), and Dutch managers like Denissen (Luke Kibet - WC mar 2007; Sammy Kitwara) and Van de Veen (above mentioned Mutai, Kirwa) had certainly influence on the development of the new generation marathoners, by giving them opportunity to race in Europe.
Also Hilda Kibet works with her Dutch coach Gerard van Lent (her aunt Lornah Kiplagat's former coach). As she studied in the Netherlands for a few years, her progression cannot be solely written on the account of Nicola.
You have reason, and I apologyze for forgetting to speak about Lornah and Peter. They had great importance in the development of Iten.
But, when you speak about Volker Wagner, Denissen and Van der Veen, you speak about managers, that gave to the athletes opportunities to compete, and were able to put together important groups, but didn't have any technical influence on their athletes.
They didn't create any training camp, but only put under contract runners that used their own program, without any intervention from their managers. I can also speak about the two Kigen, and, before the clash of January 2008, about Jason Mbote. But, in any case, the only group having also technical influence was the group of Pieter Langerhost, and, later, the group coached by Dieter Hogen and managed by Tom Radcliffe.
Without good managers, never Kenya could develop the athletes. But are very few the managers investing their money for creating in Kenya an organisation able to full support the athletes. For many, it's very more simple to "fish" between the big quantity of athletes of good talent looking for some opportunity to run in Europe, without investing any thing. This is exactly the case of all the managers you named.
The managements investing good money in organised training camps are, in Kenya, only the following :
Gianni Demadonna (Iten), Federico Rosa (Eldoret -Kapsabet - Kaptagat), Jos Hermens (Kaptagat,with Patrick Sang), and Ricky Simms (Kaptagat). Others, having top athletes (James Templeton with Rudisha, Choge, Isaac Songok ; Michel Boiteng with Lucas Rotich, Vincent Chepkok and others, having the support of Patrick Sang like Global ; and Marc Corstjens with Golazo, helped in Kenya by Barnabas Korir), don't have a specific organisation, working with a number of athletes not too high.
LMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1x800m all out!!!!
The american runner eats fried chicken wings and the american coach learns science fuzzology instead of methodology and thinks that he is a good coach because asks questions that Renato answers. The american coach thinks that trail and error training is to post on LetsRun.com.
Renato you were talking about that slow long runs and short intervals has no effetct, but there used to be many runners in the past, who did many runs at the same pace or slow pace and short intervals fast. I remember that Peter Snell did 35 km runs slower than 4:00/km pace.
I found New Zealander Dick Quax talking about his program. He won 5000m OG silver in 1976.
Dick Quax: My training over the years followed a similar pattern with 3 phases.
Phase I: For example in 1977 I began a build up period (basic preparation) in early March and for the next 10 weeks
ran only aerobically. I ran up to 148 miles a week (238km) with an average weekly mileage of about 120 miles per week (190km).
The following is a very typical week of preparation that I followed all through my career: (I translated miles to kilometres)
AM 27,2 km on hilly course in 1 hour 39 min; (3:38/km)
PM 8 km in park in 31 mins(3:52km)
AM 16 km in forest 60 min; (3:45/km)
PM 15,2 km on road in 54 min 40 sec (3:36/km)
AM 26 km on hilly course 1 hour 32min 43sec (3:35/km);
PM 8,6 km in park 32 mins (3:43/km)
AM 12 km in park 44 mins; (3:40/km)
PM 12 km in park 43 mins (3:35/km)
AM 8,6 km in park 31 mins; (3:36/km)
PM 13,7 km on road 52 mins (3:48/km)
AM 8,6 km in park 33 min 40 sec; (3:54/km)
PM 4k Cross Country Relay (1 of 2 competitions during 10 week build up)
AM 34,4 km on road 2 hours 5 min 27 sec (3:39/km)
Total for the week: 123.5 miles (198 km)
Phase II: The next phase of my training was more race specific and included a mixture of aerobic/anaerobic running.
20x200m in a average of 29.2 sec with 200m recovery in about 50 sec.
PM 12 km on a hilly course
AM 8 km easy in 30 min; (3:45/km)
PM 10k steady state in 33 min with last 5k in 14 min 30 sec (3:18/km)
AM 9,6 km easy on golf course in 36 min (3:45/km);
PM 5x800m average 2 min 12 sec 800 metres recovery
AM No Run;
PM 6x200m average 26.2 sec 200m recovery in about 60 sec.
AM 6,7 km easy;
PM 20x400m average 63 sec 400m recovery in about 1 min 45 sec
AM 20 min jog on arrival in Los Angeles from Auckland;
PM 35 min jog plus strideouts
AM 16 km jog.
Phase III: The next phase of my training was to improve my speed and anaerobic capacity. At the time I was in Boulder, Colorado.
AM 11,2 km in 40 mins (3:34/km);
PM 6 laps sprinting 50 metres every 100m.
AM 11,2 km;
PM 3,2 km steady state 8 min 56sec (2:47/km)
AM 11,2 km miles;
PM 12,8 km in 50 mins (3:54/km)
AM 11,2 km;
PM 4x600m with 600m jog recovery average 1 min 30sec
AM 11,2 km;
PM 3x200m with 200m jog recovery average 25.8sec
AM 11,2 km;
PM 10x300m with 100m recovery 42–43 sec
AM 24,8 km at 8,500’
In the same year(1977) he ran 5000m WR 13:12 and 10000m NR 27:41 with this type of training, which included 200m-400m intervals.
What do you think about Quax's training and do you think he could've ran faster with different type of training? This still worked for him though.
Hi Mr. Canova
I understand that you are a busy man and I wanted to ask you if you coach runners through email or phone? I'm currently helping a female runner with current times of 800 2:00 and 1500 of 4:09 with 54 leg speed.This is the only way i could think of getting in contact with you. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org, maybe we can speak.
Reading Mr Renato Canova Posts will leave you believing that they are the once that introduce organize training in Kenya. Kenyans have always been in training camps as far as I can remember. The Kenya Armed Forces teams have always been camping years and years ago before the big agents and sponsors set foot in Kenya. The late Paul Kipkoech had a group that camp at Namgoi in the outskirts of Kapsabet in the early 90s. Ibrahim Hussein had a group that met and train around his home area of Tilalwa in the early 90s. I was training with a group under Joshua Kipkemboi near Kipchoge Keinos home near kapsabet. The idea of organize training and camping is not new as this posts will make you believe. Kenyans runners used to look at the Armed Forces training camps and programs and applied it to their training bc it produced good results. Kenya developed the athletic talents of their runners way before Dr Rosa set foot in Kenya, it paints me when somebody try to take all the credit and ignore all the good work that Kenyans have put into the running sector. The reason why the agents , sponsors, managers flocked into Kenya is because Kenya runners have been winning and winning big and they just wanted to be a part of it. Ibrahim Hussein success in the marathon motivated young Kenyans to train for marathons, and it produce runners like Elijah Lagat, Moses Tanui, Mbarak Hussein, and all the young talents that followed after. In he 1990s there was no athlete in Kenya that young runners respect and look upto like Ibrahim Hussein, young people started training in groups, living together and sharing training programs and ideas. The idea that Kenya would not be producing good runners without you and your comrades is ridiculous. Why not go to Uganda, Tanzania , South Africa, Brazil or wherever and help generate good runners there? Your idea of building talent would not be restricted only to Kenya if magic works the way you imply. The pioneers of Kenyan running helped motivate the young hence boosting talents and encouraging hard work, dedication and perseverance. St Patrick Iten and Colm O'Connell are the reason why Iten runners migrated to the area. Kenyans honor and appreciate Colm O'Connell for the work that he has done over the years in helping young runners in the region. All the other new comers are there to exploit the existing talents. Credit goes to the Kenyan Pioneers of running, Colm O'Connell, The Kenyan runner, Kenyans for helping foster and support their kids, KAAA, Corporate sponsors, managers , agents and promoters. "The Talent is the winner you never coach that"
I couldn't have said it better myself. Exploit the most talented group of runners in the world and then come across as the all knowledgable coach. Unfortunately many uneducated people on here will constantly flock to these coaches who have found the talent tthat will allow them to try to legitimize their methodologies.
1) maybe you should realize that when Athletics was popular in Italy, the italian coached achieved a lot of successes becuase they could work on good talents
(do you know Cova, Bordin, Baldini, etc ?)
Canova has explained already several times why now he focus on African runners...
2) it is not a case that Kenyan runners became unbeatable only after getting trained under foreign coaches (15 years ago...)
Go back and read what Renato was answering. I think you are drawing some wrong conclusions.
Renato clarified the "letsrun.com" error, that he does not coach Geoffrey Mutai. In response to that, "another canuck" asked him about that, since Mutai seems to be following similar schedules and training.
Renato further clarified, answering "another canuck"'s direct question, how it is that many Kenyans can be following something like Canova's methods and schedule, while being "self-coached".
It is not an attempt to be demeaning, or take full credit for Kenyan success, which existed before 1998. Renato simply gives factual history, with names and dates, about training in Iten, to help understand how Mutai is "self-coached".
Why do you speak of "agents, sponsors, and managers", after Renato just emphasized he speaks of "coaching" and "training methodologies", and not of "managers"?
Brief history of Athletics in Kenya.
Like all African Countries, Kenya never had interest in Track and Field till the middle of the fifties.
African people were illiterate about sport. For that reason, the British government sent in 1957 one person for organising and creating interest in this activity.
This person was John Velzian, that was the first coach in Kenya. He gave the principle of training to Kipchoge Keino, Ben Jipcho and the other pioneers in Athletics. He organised also a strategy for creating basic facilities : the first track in Kenya (in the Training Center of Post, near Nairobi) was designed and measured by himself.
John Velzian can be considered the “teacher” for the Primary School of Athletics in Kenya.
After the Independence, for some year there was a good interest in Athletics, used as system for making the image of the Country well known in the World.
John Velzian continued to follow the Federation, looking at a global athletics. In the Olympic Games 1972, Kenya won medals not only with middle distance runners (Keino gold in steeple and silver in 1500, Jipcho silver in steeple), but with the relay 4x400, too.
At that time, the only goal for Kenyan athletes was to compete in institutional events (Olympic and Commonwealth especially), because World Championships didn’t exist and the activity of meetings was very poor. So, the Olympic boycott cut motivation for a lot of athletes, and the only stimula was to go in some University in US.
This is the second step of the rise of Kenyan Athletics. In US, the best runners went under the control of some top coach, and learnt something new about training. Henry Rono, Peter Rono, Yobes Ondieki, Paul Ereng, Ibrahim Hussein and many other had an “American formation”, under technical point of view. This was the “Secondary School” of Kenyan Athletics.
But in some event there was no specific culture. We speak about marathon, particularly.
The first Kenyan Marathon runner in Olympic was the late Philip N’Doo in 1964, but the first Kenyan having success was Douglas Wakhiiuri, winning World Championships 1987. He lived in Japan for long time, and his formation is completely Japanese. Another top Marathon runner was Ibrahim Hussein : he became marathoner in US, in Kenya was a specialist of 1500m, started by Brother Colm in St. Patrick. Ibrahim Hussein is, at the moment, the assistant of John Velzian in the Regional Development Center of IAAF in Nairobi.
The real jump of quality about Marathon there was when dr. Gabriele Rosa came to Kenya with the support of Fila Company. And the real jump of quality about other events was when Kim McDonald had the idea to create permanent training camps, with some coach following his technical programs.
Of course, already before this period (we speak about end of eighties – beginning of ninthies) there were training camp in Kenya. But these camps, as the camp of Army, worked for a short part of the season, only, while the modern athletics became fully professional, asking full training to all the top runners.
About Marathon, with Rosa really there were the first top marathon runners : Moses Tanui, Elijah Lagat, Japhet Kosgei, Joseph Chebet, till Paul Tergat. And, frankly, in this operation the percentage of methodological intervention of some Kenyan coach was practically no more than 5%.
About track, with Kim McDonald had the opportunity to grow a young talent, with very strong personality and ability in learning, that later became the main “motor” and the example for all Kenya. I speak of Moses Kiptanui, that was able to join the high Kenyan feeling with their body with the methodological infos from Kim, becoming one of the very few former kenyan athletes able to know about training. But Moses, as Patrick Sang, were (and are) exceptions.
Kenyans are proud to be Kenyans. But this doesn’t mean they know everything, and must become touchy when somebody explains something they don’t know.
One thing is clear, without any discussion : the talent (as runners) of Kenyan and Ethiopians is very much bigger than in the other Countries.
But the fact to have the best raw material doesn’t mean that they are the best in creating the final product. Arab Countries, Sudan and Nigeria have a lot of oil, but without the help of American and European Companies having the technology for drilling and taking out, their oil was still underground.
The challenge is not “who is the best coach” or “who was the first organising Kenya”, but “how to have the best training for continuing to improve”.
Under this point of view, the final “user” of the best methodology is the athlete, and when Kenyan athletes are able to win in the World, Kenyan people must be proud of them. Nobody cares about who is the coach, which type of organisation there is, and who pays : final winners are Kenyan athletes, Kenyan Federation and Kenya as Country.
Remember always some points :
- Before being teachers, you need to be student (and a good coach always is a student, also if already tecaher)
- The best methodologists come from Countries that never had top athletes before. Why ? Because, in order to improve the results with athletes with normal talent, they needed to study in deeply way what happens inside the body of the athletes. Physiology, psychology, biomechanics and bioenergetic are the base for developing correct methodologies.
- The best coaches are in Countries where is possible to apply “practically” the methodologies they know, with the best athletes. Coaches have to learn a lot from top athletes, their reactions, their attitude. Without them, the most part of time scientific but theorical methodologies don’t work. Without good feedback from the athlete, there is no good coach, but without good coach there is not consistancy in the athlete.
- And, finally : everybody must do his job. Athletes are athletes (and not coaches, as many athletes pretend to be when their career is going to the end), and coaches are coaches. To be a good runner doesn’t mean you can know what you need for becoming a good coach, and for being a good coach you don’t need to be a good runner. For being a jockey, you don’t need to have been a horse.
The base of modern training is in the ideas of Lydiard and Percy Cerutty. However, if the WR of 800m didn't improve too much, the WR of long distances completely changed.
When you speak about Dick Quax, you speak about an athlete able running 3'33", but "only" 13'12" and 27'41".
With the today type of training, an athlete running 3'33" and talented for longer distances can easy run under 13' and about or under 27'.
When we speak about Marathon runners, and I have the example of Frank Shorter, this is a wrong examples, because never he ran under 2:10, and now we have athletes able running faster with a PB of 29'30" in 10000m.
Everybody is son of his age. But, if technology and science is able to go ahead in every human field, there is no reason for thinking that methodology stopped at the level of 50 years ago.
We had,in the last 50 years, 3 long periods :
a) After sixties, the period of big mileage for every event, including a lot of long run very slow for capillarization, following the studies of dr. Van Aaken, and developed by Lydiard. This was the base for some fast workout using short distance (200-600m).
b) In ninthies, a reduction of mileage with more attention to the intensity. This was what happened in all the most advanced Countries (US, Oceania, Europe), but not in Africa (in that period the Ethiopian domination about 5000 and 10000m started).
c) What happened in Ethiopia, and now all the World tries to follow, is that there was the QUALIFICATION OF THE MILEAGE. In other words, the mileage of the top runners of today is very similar the mileage of the period of Lydiard, but big part of it is carried on at high speed.
At least : For running fast long distances, is not enough running long and slow, and short and fast, but we need to run LONG and FAST.
That's the reason because the record, in 37 years. moved as follows :
400m : 43"8 (Evans) 43"18 (Johnson)
800m : 1'43"7 (Fiasconaro) 1'41"01 (Rudisha)
1500m : 3'32"2 (Bayi) 3'26"00 (El Guerrouj)
5000m : 13'16"6 (Viren) 12'37" (Bekele)
10000m : 27'38"4 (Viren) 26'17" (Bekele)
Mar. : 2:08:37 (Clayton) 2:03:59 (Haile)
Steeple : 8'12" (about) 7'53"63 (Shaheen)
How you can see, the percentae of improvement is not the same, but very much higher in long distances.
So, everybody must recognize something in training changed, and this is THE VOLUME OF INTENSITY.
Great summaries and postings Renato. Thank you as always.
I think we have another quote of the day; "For being a jockey, you don't need to have been a horse."
Renato, another general belief we in the west hold is that (and I am generalizing) that for every Kenyan who breaks through like Mutai, Kiprop etc, there are many more who fall by the wayside, but of course we never hear of them. If a group of 10 tries the intensities that you set out, do you usually see half or more that cannot handle that much? Do you then back that group down a bit, or is it simply survival of the fittest?
Does anyone think runners have to train together to be a good cross country team?
You learn each other's strengths and can devise tactics.
Or can seven guys train on their own, get in the best shape possible in their own system, and do well on race day as a team?
You might get your wish. Magness is a big Canova follower so maybe he brings some of the ideas to the group.