Behind The Scenes: A Kenyan Interval Session

One writer's look at a grueling workout outside Iten.

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One writer’s look at a grueling workout outside Iten.

For the past several months Guardian correspondent Adharanand Finn has been in Kenya chronicling the day in the life of Kenyan runners. Earlier this week, he reported on what it’s like to take part in an interval session with some of the world-fastest runners.

The session  Finn observed was 25 x 1:00 with 1:00 recovery located on a track outside Iten. “I try changing up through the gears to keep up, working my arms, trying to find the smoothest part of the track to run along,” he recalls. “But I’m already slipping backwards, runners nipping past me on both sides.”

Finn was surprised to notice that everyone except himself was wearing a watch. He expected Kenyans to be more run-by-feel types. “I had naively imagined everyone hurtling along without a thought for anything as restricting and analytical as a stopwatch,” he admits. Finn observes that Kenyans are obsessed with minutes run the way non-Africans runners are obsessed with mileage.

The workout is so difficult for Finn–an admitted amateur–that he loses count of the number of repeats he’s done.

For More: The Guardian