Last update: 31.03.2021
Some months ago we did an in-depth article about Jakob Ingebrigtsen and on last week’s edition of the Norwegian-language podcast “I det lange løp” hosted by the sports commentator, Jann Post, Jakob Ingebrigtsen talked, among other things, about his recent European indoor Championships double and his current and historic training volumes.
As we found a lot of what Jakob had to say interesting, and as most of our readers are not Norwegian speakers, we decided to do an article about what Jakob shared in this podcast. If you speak one of the Scandinavian languages we strongly recommend that you listen through the entire podcast as Jann Post and Jakob talked for almost a full hour and we have never heard him speak so openly about his training and training progression through the years.
A lot has been written about the Ingebrigtsens, both in the mainstream media as well as on the forums of LetsRun and Trackandfieldnews. In fact so much has already been written about Jakob, Filip and Henrik’s training that we found some of what Jakob said rather surprising. Particularly so as it contradicts some of what previously has been published.
In an article in the New York Times, partly based on an article in the International Journal of Sports Science and Coaching, Gretchen Reynolds wrote:
“Perhaps most obviously, he (professor Leif Inge Tjelta) noted, the Ingebrigtsens trained with relatively light mileage when they were young. While some elite teenage runners aim to complete as many as 90 or more miles a week, the Ingebrigtsen boys ran about 45 to 50 miles a week before they turned 16 and, at the direction of their father-slash-coach, gradually increased that mileage over the course of the next few years, until they plateaued at about 95 to 100 miles a week when they turned 18.”
However, based on what Jakob said in the recent podcast the above seems to substantially underestimate both his current and historic mileage. As this is the case we will roughly translate some of what he said about his training below:
“Normally I run 181.5 KMs (112.8 miles) a week during winter training.”
“The mileage I ran when I was younger is larger than many people seem to realize.”
“I was running 100 miles (161ish kilometers) a week, already many years ago.”
“When I was 9-10-11, I was running 120-140 kilometers some weeks.”
“Towards the end of primary school I started doing a running session in the morning, before I went to school.” (Kids are usually about 12-13 when graduating primary school in Norway.)
“When I was 13 I was running at least 140 kilometers a week. I have more or less been doing at least 140 kilometers a week from that point in time, with the exception of travel days and preparations for competitions.” (And time off being injured we assume.)
“I considered myself a professional runner when I was 13, and much of my day to day life since, has been centered on doing that job well.”
“I visited our physiotherapist every day, on my way home from school, from about the age of 13.”
“I have not skipped any running session Gjert (coach and father) has instructed me to do since I was five or six years old.”
“We have been conducting lactate tests in all my interval training sessions since I was ten years old.”
The above cannot be treated as direct quotes from Jakob, but we think it catches the essence of what Jakob said very well.
Based on discussions in online forums, I have realized that some people think the content in this article lacks creditbility. Because of this we have decided to add a link to another article covering the same podcast.
Many posters on various forums have already for years been writing that, as Jakob has trained like a professional for a long time already, he is bound to cease developing and likely already has hit his peak. We suspect that many of these posters will take what Jakob said in the podcast as an open invitation to keep making similar predictions.
Who knows, maybe the people making such forecasts will be proven right this time, even if they have been nothing but wrong up until now. Sooner or later Jakob will hit his peak, so at some point such predictions obviously have to be right.
Personally we are thrilled to be able to keep following Jakob’s career and think it a bit ludicrous to write off a young athlete who has progressed by a large margin every single year this far.