‘The Best Ever’ - The Training of Hicham El Guerrouj
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The Best Ever? - with 2 Olympic golds, 4 world championship golds and multiple world records; it is hard to argue against El Guerrouj’s claim to the title of ‘The Best Ever’.
Runner’s Tribe took a look back over the training of the great Hicham El Guerrouj.
DOB: 14th September 1974, Berkane, Morroco.
- 800m: 1:47.18
- 1500m: 3:26.00
- Mile: 3:43.13
- 3000m: 7:23.09
- 5000m: 12:50.24
- Olympic 1500m Gold, Athens 2004.
- Olympic 5000m Gold, Athens 2004
- World Championship 1500m Gold, Athens 1997.
- World Championship 1500m Gold, Seville 1999.
- World Championship 1500m Gold, Edmonton 2001.
- World Championship 1500m Gold, Paris 2003.
- World Indoor Championship 1500m Gold, Barcelona 1995.
- World Indoor Championship 1500m Gold, Paris 1997.
- World Indoor Championship 1500m Gold, Lisbon 2001.
El Guerrouj’s coach did not view altitude training as the most vital element of training. It was all about quality training. However, El Guerrouj did train several times a year at Ifrane, at 1650m altitude. El Guerrouj would spend approximately 3 weeks at altitude during each training stint.
El Guerrouj's training was broken down into cycles. Notably, El Guerrouj did not run huge volumes, but his training involved a lot of quality work, certainly more quality than quantity. El Guerrouj kept his track work to a minimum except leading into races.
El Guerrouj’s training was broken down into cycles.
Cycle 1: Preparation
Training diary example
|1||Aerobic endurance||Strength work|
|2||Aerobic endurance||Physical preparation|
|3||Aerobic endurance||Aerobic endurance|
|6||Aerobic endurance||Physical preparation|
|7||Aerobic endurance||Strength work|
|10||Aerobic endurance||Aerobic endurance|
|11||Aerobic endurance||Strength work|
|13||Aerobic endurance||Aerobic endurance|
|15||Aerobic endurance||Strength work|
|17||Aerobic endurance||Aerobic endurance|
|18||Aerobic endurance||Strength work|
|19||Aerobic endurance||Aerobic endurance|
|21||Aerobic endurance||Strength work|
Cycle 1 aerobic endurance sessions involved four types of work:
- 30-45 min of continuous running
- 50-60 min of continuous running
The pace of these runs varied but were generally quite quick. The goal was to run hard, depending on how he felt that day. The pace therefore, varied from 3:00-3:10/km pace to 2:50/km.
- 4 x 2000m in 5:10 with 2 min recovery
- 6 x 1000m in 2:30 with 2 min recovery
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