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Train like a Champion – Workouts from 8 World Class Marathon Runners

Those of you who use The 100 Day Marathon Plan know that this program, which is designed to fit runners of all levels, is a modification of many of the principles used by many of the top marathoners in the world.

But how do the best marathon runners in the world actually do their training on a day-to-day basis?

I’ve collected a few excellent online sources to specifically answer this question. There is some VERY good information out there


If you have additions to the list or want to engage in a discussion of the marathon principles you find here, please use the comments section below.


Training of Grete Waitz

Grete Waitz won the New York City Marathon 9 times and was the world champion in 1983. She was also a very fast track runner with a PR of 4.00 in the 1500 meters.

So how did she train?

A new article from 2014 gives a very detailed overview of her training:

A Case Study of Grete Waitz  Click the “full text” part to the right of the page – to view the whole article (see circled around in the below picture)



Training of Stefano Baldini

Stefano Baldini was the Olympic marathon champion in 2004 and a great championship runner. Coached by Gigliotti, he followed the Italian school of marathoning.

Here are a few sources for you about the day-to-day training of Baldini.

The training leading up to the actual Olympics in 2004:

Training of Stefano Baldini – PDF

A sample week including actual workout times:

Example Workouts


Training of Gelindo Bordin

OIympic marathon champion in 1988.

Overview of the workouts leading up to the 1988 Olympic gold medal:

Gelindo Bordin Training

With specific finishing times/running times in each workout for that period:

Gelindo Bordin – including workouts times 


paulaTraining of Paula Radcliffe

The women’s world record holder, with a PR of 2:15:25.

Her training:

In terms of specific day-to-day workouts, there is very little data available on Radcliffe.

The only real source I have is from a phone conversation I had directly with her coach, Alex Stanton, for about an hour in the fall of 2002. Here are a few things that I remember from that conversation:

–          High overall volume 200+ km.

–          A big focus on altitude training.

–          Hill workouts with strength work incorporated.

–          Intense aerobic work year round. What also surprised me was the intensity of some of the endurance work. A great deal of it, including hill workouts and intervals, was above the anaerobic threshold, in between 10k to half marathon pace. Additionally, the overall workout length of this type of work was substantial. Even for me–a 13:09 5k runner at the time and doing very long and hard workouts– the overall load of the workouts of this very intense “aerobic plus” work struck me.

–          Quite fast running, even on the easy workouts.

–          Flat periodization, less variation winter vs summer than many other runners.

To me, her philosophy sounded like a mix of Grete Waitz and Ingrid Kristiansen, with the overall load going one step further.

If anyone has more specific information/copies of Alex Stanton lectures, I would love to hear from you!

Her physiology:

There is, however, some VERY interesting work on the physiology of Paula reported in some scientific studies.

At her peak fitness in 2003 (the runner referred to as World Record holder is Paula):

The Physiology of Paula Radcliffe – Study

The runner in this study is also Paula Radcliffe, before she started running the marathon:

Paula Radcliffe – As a Track Runner Physiology


Training of Ingrid Kristiansen

Former world record holder for the 5k/10k and the marathon.

Training three weeks prior to the 2.21 world marathon record (London 1985). (The full article is in Norwegian. Use Google Translate for a simple overview in English.):

3 Weeks Before World Record Marathon 

Overview from LetsRun.com:

Ingrid Kristiansen Training Overview


Training of Florence Kiplagat

Training prior to the 2014 world record half marathon:

Florence Kiplagat Training before World Half Marathon Record


mosopTraining of Abel Kirui and Moses Mosop

Moses Mosop, 2:03 Boston Marathon./Kirui, 2009 and 2011 World Champion.

Overview of their training:

Mosop and Kirui Overview of their training

Specific day-to-day schedule for Kirui before his 2011 Marathon World Championship gold:

Day to Day Training of Abel Kirui 

Specific day-to-day schedule for Mosop before his 2:03 Boston Marathon:

 Moses Mosop Training, Before a 2:03 Marathon


In addition to this, here is a little bit from Renato Canova

Coach of the two athletes mentioned above.

In-depth summary of workouts/philosophy:

Renato Canova Philosophy

LetsRun.com thread:

Letsrun.com on Renato Canova

Summarized philosophy (including other distances):

Summarized Renato Canova Training Principles

I hope you liked the article. Please share it if you did–and don’t forget to sign up for The 100 Day Marathon newsletter to receive updates like this in the future.

All the best,

Marius Bakken

M.D. and Author of the 100 day Marathon Plan


  1. robertmwalters@verizon.netdr'Bob Walters says

    Dr., great to see your name again. Since last we spoke I have completed 5 halves & am going to run the NYC marathon in November. I’ve used your plan so far and everything is great…some injuries, some slow ups but I will be ready for nov. Your plan has worked and still works so thank you very much for your ideas. Bob Walters

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