Anyone who follows international distance running is quite aware that the runners from Kenya are among the best in the world. Parker Morse, a young employee with Runner’s World magazine, was visiting Kenya and went for a 46 minute run with five Kenyans. He listed some of the things he observed and learned from them during this brief encounter.
I would like to share some of the things I discovered from his experience. The first few couple of miles started at a very relaxed gait. This served as a warm-up. Then the pace dropped down to a more aggressive one. Periodically the tempo would change. Kenyans feel that since surges will be used during competitions it is best to get used to varying speeds. He also noted that the leg turnover differed. Each of the Kenyans made about five strides to every four that he took. This illustrates the value of a quick turnover. Near the conclusion of the run the group made a point of finishing strong. Then when the run concluded, they did some strides and ended with some stretching.
The Kenyans took a great deal of pride in the fact that they worked hard to develop themselves as runners. Even though the author was unable to keep up, he noted that the 46 minutes he spent was training, despite simulating race conditions, not a race for the Kenyans. This was a time where they would work their legs, but they would not strain their mental will.