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What runners can learn from Kipchoge’s slowest 10K in years

Runners are playing the long game right now

Over the weekend, the NN Running Team and Maurten held a virtual relay called MA RA TH ON where runners competed on teams of four to complete 42.2K. More than 100,000 people worldwide participated, including Canadian Olympian Reid Coolsaet, who finished 19th overall. However, surprisingly, marathon world record-holder Eliud Kipchoge didn’t even crack the top 10, finishing in 15th in 31:28 for 10.5K. Kipchoge’s personal best over 10K is 28:11.

RELATED: Coolsaet, Jornet beat Bekele in NN Running virtual marathon relay

What runners can learn from Kipchoge

Kipchoge’s performance over the weekend seems lacklustre and a little out of character at first glance, but very few things about Kipchoge are accidental. From what we’ve seen of the 2:01:39 marathoner, he’s one of the most intentional people on the planet, and since he hasn’t had a bad race in years, it seems more likely that he took things slowly on purpose.

In classic Kipchoge fashion, he’s leading by example by taking it a little easy in his training and playing the long game. Here are some takeaways from the slowest 10K “race” Kipchoge has run in years.

Evan Esselink at lululemon Edmonton 10k 2019. Photo: Inge Johnson/Canada Running Series
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Your next start line remains a ways away

Just like all runners, Kipchoge is a long way out from his next start line. The 2020 Boston Marathon has been cancelled, Berlin is currently reworking their plan and Chicago released a statement on Monday morning letting runners know that its future remains uncertain as well.

Because of this, runners need to focus on base-building and keeping their goals flexible. The worst-case scenario would be to get really fit for nothing and feel burnt out when you finally get to race.

Avoid burnout

One of the key signs of burnout is consistent disinterest in running. There will always be days when a run doesn’t feel exciting, but if you haven’t wanted to go for a run in a few weeks, check in with yourself and considering adjusting your training.

Find a sustainable training model

Training right now is all about sustainability, and that will look different for everyone. Keep running fun and low-stress right now. If virtual races get you out of bed in the morning, then run some of those, but like Kipchoge proved, don’t put too much stock in them.

If unstructured training works better for you, then stick with that. World championship marathoner Lyndsay Tessier has been finding it hard to work out without comparing her current fitness to her form in October 2019. Because of this, for the time being she has ditched her GPS watch and is running based on perceived effort.

“My ego would take a big hit if I saw these splits on a watch,” she jokes. “I’m not worried about being in shape right now, but I don’t want to be a total sloth. So I’m running by effort with a Casio watch.”

Keep running fun and use it as a way to clear your head, however that looks for you. And remember, the real test will come when we all get to a start line together in the future.

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