Astana 42k

One Steppe Beyond

The Astana marathon is an annual sporting event in the heart of Eurasia.

How do they grow local long distance talent in Kenya?

This year London Marathon was taken by Kenyan runners with Mary Keitany beating Paula Radcliffe's women's-only world record by 41 seconds, and  Daniel Wanjiru winning the men's race in 2:05:56. How do they do it? What is the secret of coaches and athletes from Kenya? We asked Philip Kiprono, a coach based in Eldoret Kenya, who is sending Simon Kiprugut Kirui (PB 02:12:22, Pune 2017) and Hilda J Cheboi (PB 02:45:39, Bournemouth 2016) to Astana Marathon 2017. Philip specialises in training athletes for track and road running, ranging from 800M to marathon. Some of his previous athletes have gone ahead to win major world marathons.

" I get athletes directly from primary and high schools during school competitions, I accept them if they are willing to commit to training with my group during school holidays. I provide them with accommodation and meals with the assistance of their parents. After integrating them with the other athletes, I give them Beginners training programmes, as joining the other well established and trained athletes can lead to injuries.

After 2 months in Beginner training, I selects the ones who have picked up, those whose bodies responded fast to training while those who have not picked up will continue in slower training along with me.

In about 3 months, all the new athletes will have picked up and responded to intense training. From that point I start diving them into groups depending on their specialities (800m, 1500m, 5000m, 10000m). I do not take athletes straight to road racing, unless they don't pick up well in track training and those affected too much by track/spikes injuries whereby I introduce them to road running.

It takes a lot of motivation from coaches and other well established athletes to keep the athletes training and remain in groups/camps.

A simple training plan for 21k to 42k athletes is below, though things are often changing depending on the course of their upcoming events.


morning: 1hr 30mins run at a 3:30/km pace. girls 3:55 to 4min

afternoon 4pm: 1hr run 4:45/km  pace


morning: speed training..fartlek 1min speed 3:15/km pace, gilrs 3:30min, 1min recovery. 20 times.

afternoon: easy run of 5min per km pace.  for 1hrs or 45mins


morning: 1hr 45min run 4min/km, 4:20/km for girls                                                                        afternoon 4pm 1hr run 4.30/km run


morning 6.30AM, speed training track. 400m 15 times for 21km, 25 times for                                   42kms runners 1:00 to 1:05 , 1:21 for gilrs per 400m

afternoon 4PM easy run 1hr 5min/km pace


morning 6.30am 1hr 30min run 3:45/km 4:00 for girls

afternoon rest

Saturday:   (morning 6am) Long run 38kms or 35km or 40kms depending on the distance of the preceding long run (last weekend)  3:40min/km pace 4min to 4:10 for girls

Sunday: Rest/recovery

Sometimes we introduce 1hr hill  training in mid week, probably on wednesdays that involves running up and down a steep gradient at a slower pace just for stamina.

Track athletes do not go for long runs except the 5000m and 10000m athletes, the others have to do half the program at a much faster pace. after following this programs for at least 3 months  athletes will be ready to compete anywhere in the world."

Should you eat unhealthy snacks?

Do you know how long you need to run to burn off a standard-size chocolate bar? Or that a quarter of a large pizza can send the eater to a walk for an hour and 23 minutes? There is a certain idea in Britain - aimed at tackling Britain's obesity crisis - and that is to label food with information how much exercise is needed to work off calories. The idea is backed by Shirley Cramer, chief executive of the Royal Society for Public Health. Ms Cramer said: "The objective is to prompt people to be mindful of the energy they consume and how calories relate to their everyday lives." 

The Sun



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