Justin Lagat sent this in early in January. His View from Kenya gives us a view into the Kenyan running culture. This reminds us that to be a great athlete, you need to be out there all year long.
Some observations on Kenyan athletes training during the holidays from 24th December to 1st January
As different as the dates in which different Kenyan athletes will be doing their races in 2019 was their training programs during the festive season from 24th of December 2018 to the 1st of January 2019.
I got back from my 13km easy run on the morning of 25th December to find a note from a surprised friend and athletic fan who had just witnessed a large group of Kenyan runners doing their morning run before the sun could rise, on a Christmas day!
My friend could hardly believe that Kenyan runners wake up earlier than almost everyone else almost daily for 365 days every year, to run and sweat. This was a moment that changed the perception of the observer regarding the Kenyan runners. His respect for the athletes grew instantly and all he could do was to hope that they get what they deserve as rewards for their daily sweat.
I am still getting back into training myself and may not get to join my group fully until February, but just like many of the Kenyan runners, I was also out doing some easy runs and trying to make a meaning out of them and let them not affect the festive season as well.
Some runners wanted to add a meaning to their runs. Like, a number of runners did go for 25km runs on 25th December. This is another good thing about running; any number can be turned into a meaning. One can go for a 40km run on their 40th birthday, run for 60 minutes on their 60th birthday, or run under 9:11 for a 3k distance to remember an event that happened on September 11, and so on.
It was interesting to also note that while some big training camps close their camps, their athletes go out and join other smaller groups to train through the festive season. Interestingly, one runner did go for a 40km run here on his off-training break in times that many cannot even do in their competitions! He did, as effortless as though he was just standing, run 2:20 for the distance. Well, he is yet to begin his training!
Generally, the groups appeared smaller over the holidays, but this was mostly because many athletes had to change their training schedules to suit other events in the season. There were many ceremonies; wedding, initiation, Christmas, family-get-together, etc over the season, but since there are races as well in January, the athletes had to balance between maintaining their good forms and attending the celebrations.