“How hard you train is how you perform in competition,” says quadruple Olympic medal winning runner, Sir Mo Farah. Luckily, Farah trains as hard as anyone, and hasn’t lost his enthusiasm for his sport even though he’s swapped pounding the track for unforgiving marathon miles.
Here we find out, what a weeks training looks like for Farah and what motivates him to keep going.
How many miles do you rack up a week?
Since switching to marathons, I’m doing much longer reps and more long runs, but the mileage depends on the time of year. Normally, the hardest time is January, February, March, because that tends to be when I need to get ready for the marathon I’ve targeted. On average, I run about 28km per day, some days slightly more. It works out at just over 193km per week. I go through a pair of new shoes every three weeks.
Do you supplement your training runs with gym work?
I go to the gym a few times per week, with front squats, dumbbell work, Romanian deadlifts – a normal weights session, but nothing too heavy. When you get tired towards the end of a race, strength helps you maintain form and run straight.
Do you have to maintain a balance between strength and weight?
As a distance runner, you don’t need to bulk up: the more weight you have, the more weight you’re carrying to the line. Winning medals comes down to a second and it’s all about having that extra 1 per cent.
What was your motivation for making the move to marathon running?
I’ve had an amazing career. I’m getting on a bit, and I didn’t even dream of becoming Olympic champion – let alone twice, then four times. When you’ve achieved everything, you’re not as hungry. I wanted something to wake me up, to get nervous about. As distance athletes get older, a lot switch to the marathon. I wanted to test myself and see if I could do it.
What is it about distance running that you love?
What you put in is what you get out. You won’t get bailed out by your teammates: all your mistakes show. How hard you train is how you perform in competition. That drives me to keep training harder, to put in the miles. And knowing, at the end, there’s the possibility of that moment when the floodlights are on, you cross the line first, you hear the national anthem – that bit keeps bringing me back.
This article originally appeared on Men’s Health UK