Have you ever wondered what Kenyan runners’ training looks like? Or how the Kenyan runners’ diet differs from ours?

I had, so I thought it was time to bring on someone who had an inside look and lived as a Kenyan athlete for a few years. He has also worked as a manager for professional athletes, so he can give us the other side of the story too.

Tom Payn shares his story from the moment he arrived in Kenya, why Kenyan time meant Edwin Kipyego was over an hour late to pick him up from the airport, and why the run, eat, sleep, and repeat cycle really is how Kenyan athletes live their lives.

Tom tells us just how easy the Kenyan runners take their easy runs; you won’t believe it!

Ultimately, this lifestyle meant that Tom lost his passion for running and had to start over again, but he tells us how you can prevent that happening to you, and what to do if you do find yourself struggling to find running motivation.

This is for you if you love to learn about professional athletes and how they live their lives, if you are interested in what makes Kenyan runners so good, and what the doping situation looks like in Kenya.

Today’s Guest

Tom Payn

Tom is a professional runner, athlete manager, and founder of Run Namaste Eat. As one of the best British marathoners and an Olympic hopeful, Tom has an inspiring story, and talks in a real way we can all relate to.

What You Will Learn About

  • Why Tom moved to Kenya to train
  • What it is like to be a Kenyan runner
  • What a day in the life of a Kenyan athlete looks like and what food Kenyan runners eat
  • What Kenyan runners do if they are feeling extra tired
  • What Kenyan optimism is
  • How Tom got his passion for running back after he lost motivation to train
  • What Tom thinks about the doping situation in Kenya

Listen to the Running for Real Podcast


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Toms #R4RPowerPose

Inspirational Quotes

I didn’t want it to come to later in life and wonder, “oh, if only I had done this or done that,” so I quit my job.

(About easy runs) It’s a real 10-12 minute mile pace, when these guys can run half marathons at sub 5 minute mile pace, even a marathon at that pace.

Just before sunrise was the time to get up; they like running nice and early.

A lot of the guys are just running around with toes poking out of their shoes.

Dinner is at 8-9 o’clock, and then go to bed. They like to have their dinner just before bed because they said to me the reason…  so they had more energy in the morning. It’s for them!

The biggest challenge was coming from working a full-time job to going to doing nothing but running, and I struggled not having too much mentally engaging in my day-to-day life.

Because of the times I had run, straight away, I got the respect of being an athlete, and then they saw that I was running with them every day, doing exactly what they were doing, and more sometimes.

Whatever happens, if they have a bad race or drop out, they will say, “It doesn’t matter, I will win next time”. They do not dwell on it at all.

Because I had become a full-time athlete, something had changed for me. Before I ran because I just loved to run and I would happily be running 140 miles a week while working a full-time job because I loved it, and I loved doing the training. There wasn’t any pressure because I was working full-time. And then I went to Kenya, and I was a full-time athlete. I had a few disappointing results and the pressure built. I started waking up and thinking “ah, I have to go for this run and I don’t really want to,” so the enjoyment went. When you don’t enjoy running, there is no way you are going to run fast.

You run because you love it. If you do it because you have to do it, it’s not going to work.

In Kenya, they have a very simple diet, it’s quite plant-based, a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables, and they have their national dish, which is ugali, which is maize flour. Generally they will eat meat once a week, so not much, but it is lots of beans, vegetables and fresh fruits.

“Ever wondered what life is like as a Kenyan runner? Wonder no more! #running4real”

Resources Mentioned

Thanks for listening! I hope you enjoyed today’s episode.

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Thank you to Tom.  I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the show.

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