‘Listen to your body’

The Training of 1:43 800m, Man Benson Koech

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“Listen to your body. Don’t run quality sessions if your body is tired. If you keep on with the hard training, you will destroy your form and waste all your training – go back to zero” -Benson Koech

For those of you around during the nineties, you’ll remember Koech as the guy often challenging the great Wilson Kipketer, especially during 1994-95.

Hailing from Brother Colm’s stable, Koech was a junior star winning the world juniors in 1992 in a super fast time of 1:44.77. Koech perhaps didn’t live up to his full potential as a senior athlete. However, his 800m P.B. of 1:43.17 ranked him 1st in the world for 1994.

Sources

  • ‘Train Hard, Win Easy. The Kenyan Way. By Toby Tanser. We highly recommend this classic book to anyone who is yet to read it.
  • IAAF athlete profile www.iaaf.org

DOB: 10th November 1974, Moiben, Kenya.

Personal Bests
800m: 1:43.17
1000m: 2:14.96
1500m: 3:32.09
Mile: 3:58.59

Highlights

  • World Junior Championships 800m Gold, 1992.
  • World Indoor 800m Championships, Silver, 1995.
  • Winner of 1995 IAAF Grand Prix Final 800m and overall Grand Prix 800m rankings for 1995.
  • Two-time winner of Kenyan Junior National and Provincial Cross Country Championships.

Training Basics

“You need to rest to recover so you can start with energy” – Benson Koech

Koech believed in the ‘block’ training method. This meant that he had a large break between the end of the track season (in about September) and around Christmas time.

Winter Build-up Phase

During the winter build-up phase Koech would complete 2-3 sessions per day and his weekly mileage would never exceed 140km per week. This build-up period would involve distance running, hill running, gym workouts, and the occasional track workout to keep in touch with his speed.

A typical ten-day block of training during the winter build-up base is outlined below:

Day 1
AM: 11km in 40 minutes
Midday: 6km in 26 minutes
PM: 8km in 28 minutes

Day 2
AM: 8km in 30 minutes
Midday: 4km in 18 minutes
PM: Rest

Day 3
AM: 10km in 34 minutes
Midday: 6km in 20 minutes
PM: Rest

Day 4
AM: 12km in 42 minutes
Midday: Rest
PM: Rest

Day 5: Rest

Day 6
AM:8km in 27 minutes
Midday: Rest
PM: Hill work session

Day 7: 95 minute hill long run.

Day 8
AM: 6km in 22 minutes
Midday: Rest
PM: Rest

Day 9
AM: Rest
Midday: Track session of 5x 500m (5 minutes recovery. Times 1:18, 1:18, 1:18, 1:17, 1:15). Then 2 x 400m (1 minute recovery. Times 55 and 57 secs). Then 2 x 200m (30 seconds recovery. Times 26 and 26 seconds). Then 2 x 100m (5 seconds recovery. Times 12.2 and 11.0 seconds).
PM: Rest

Day 10
AM: Rest
Midday: Hill work session.
PM: Rest

Pre-Competition Period

During the pre-competition period, Koech would complete on average 1-2 sessions per day and his weekly mileage was always well under 100km. During this period hard track sessions were completed on a regular basis and the emphasis was well and truly centred on quality sessions.

A typical ten day block of training during the pre-competition period is outlined below:

Day 1
AM: 40 minute very hard
Midday: Track session. 4 x 200m (times 28,25,25,24 seconds). Then 3 x 300m (times 37, 39, 39 seconds).
PM: Jogging for 30 minutes and some strides

Day 2
AM:30 minute jog and light weights
Midday: Rest
PM: Rest

Day 3
AM: Rest
Midday: Track session. 3 x 400m (times 50, 49, 50 seconds). Then 2 x 150m accelerations.
PM:28 minute easy run plus some hill work

Day 4
AM: Rest
Midday: Light weights
PM: Rest

Day 5:
AM: 30 minute run
Midday: Track session. 2 x 500m (times 1:03, 1:02). Then 2 x 300m (times 39, 39 seconds).
PM: 30 minute of hill work and strides

Day 6
AM:40 minute fast, hard run
Midday: Weights
PM: Hill work session

Day 7: Rest

Day 8
AM: Rest
Midday: Track session. 2 x 600m (times 1:15, 1:18). Then 2 x 200m (25, 27 seconds).
PM: Rest

Day 9
AM: Rest
Midday: 6km jog and light weights
PM: Light jog and some hill reps of 5 x 20 seconds

Day 10
AM: 6km hard
Midday: Track session. 4 x 300m (times 39,37,38,38 seconds). Then 2 x 150m with flying starts (times 15.5, 16.2 seconds).
PM: Rest

Sources

  • ‘Train Hard, Win Easy. The Kenyan Way. By Toby Tanser. We highly recommend this classic book to anyone who is yet to read it.
  • IAAF athlete profile www.iaaf.org
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