Kenenisa Bekele is often regarded as the greatest distance runner in History with 3 Olympic gold medals, 1 Olympic silver medal, 5 World championship gold medals, 1 World indoor gold medal and an astonishing 12 World cross country gold medals.

He broke 4 World records throughout his career. Both his 5000m and 10000m world records were recently broken by Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei. He still holds the 5000m indoor World record of 12:49.60, as well as the World indoor 2000m record of 4:49.99 which he broke 3 days prior to the 5000m one. 

Bekele also has the 2nd fastest marathon time in history with 2:01:41, just behind Eliud Kipchoge’s World record. Bekele’s marathon time for context is a 4 minute 38 second mile, 26.2 times in a row. Just under 13 Miles per hour, for 2 hours, 1 minute and 41 seconds.

The main question this leaves is; why is Kenenisa Bekele so good. Mentality, genetics and lifestyle all big factors, but one which is undeniable is his training.

What is Kenenisa Bekele’s training?…


This next part provides a general training plan used by Bekele as well as the rest of the Ethiopian National Team. In 2004, at the start of Bekele’s track dominance. 

Typical Weekly Schedule
AM 3 hour long run in the forest (5:40/mile)
PM none
AM 1.5 hour run; stretching
PM 1 hour easy
AM hard 15km – 30km run on roads (half marathon – marathon pace); stretching
PM 1 hour easy
AM sprints in spikes; jogging; long warmup; 20 minutes stretching
PM 1 hour easy
AM 15 – 20 x 400m hills with jog recovery; 15 – 20 minutes stretching
PM 1 hour easy
AM track work; 3 x 1200m to 8 x 2000m; stretching
PM 1 hour easy
AM 1 hour very easy
PM none
Specific Workouts
Session Pace Specifics Workout Goal
6 x 800m 1:57/800m lap 1 at 1:04; lap 2 at 0:53 final lap kick
6-10 x 1000m 2:27/1000m 3 minutes recovery 3000m pace work
3 x 2000m 5:00/2000m 3 minutes recovery 5000m pace work
5 x 2000m 5:15/2000m   10,000m pace work
threshold 4:25-4:45/mile 15k – 30k (half marathon to marathon pace) threshold
basic speed   plyometrics and strides (100m) basic speed and kick
strength   light weight lifting at high repetitions strength endurance

An Ethiopian newspaper reported on a workout run by the Ethiopian National Team during June of 2004. The athletes ran 7000m (in Addis Ababa at altitude) at an average pace of around 2:40/kilometre. They split 13:22 for 5000m on their way to a 7000m time between 18:40 and 18:45.

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