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Introduction: The Harambee Project Training Series

Take a look inside the training program of some of the worlds most elite runners. In this series of posts, Ryan Bolton will be giving detailed insights into how he trains his athletes to compete with the world’s best. 

Ryan Bolton is a former professional triathlete who now coaches some of the worlds fastest runners as part of the Harambee Project. One of the first users of TrainingPeaks, Bolton will be writing a series of posts that will demonstrate how the group trains, highlight data from workouts and give insights into the concepts he uses to get the most out of his athletes. Be sure to check back to see inside the training regimen of some of the fastest runners in the world.

Introduction and Background 

I’ve been an active TrainingPeaks user since it was on paper. Seriously. When I started working with Joe Friel in 1997, the first workouts he planned were an old pen and pad version of what we now know as TrainingPeaks. Every time I’d meet with Joe he’d hand me a new weekly plan, I’d put it in a folder and then hand log my daily workouts. At the time, that was as cutting edge as it got. Surely, I’m no dinosaur, but we have come a long way since then. When TrainingPeaks went online I was one of the first guinea pigs. Now, we have the highly functional, multifaceted TrainingPeaks that we are familiar with today.

As a coach, I now use TrainingPeaks to coach a group called The Harambee Project, a group of some the world’s most elite runners. The purpose of this recurring series is to provide a detailed inside look into the training of the these elite athletes.

The Harambee Project

Consisting of some of the finest distance runners in the world, The Harmbee Project trains athletes from East Africa and around the globe. The term “Harambee” [har-am-bay] comes from a Swahili word that means “come together”. It’s often used in Kenya to describe the power of a training group. “When we train together, we can accomplish greater feats”. The East Africans often describe this trait as one of the keys to their success.

Formed in 2009 and based in Santa Fe, NM for it’s high altitude (7000 feet, 2100 meters), good climate and abundance of running terrain, The Harambee Project offers a perfect training environment for elite runners seeking quality training in the United States. In collaboration with top agents, managers and sponsors, athletes are provided with optimal conditions to perform at an elite level. Most of the athletes reside in Santa Fe for the majority of the year, occasionally going home during off seasons. Northern New Mexico is also the perfect base for competing both domestically and internationally.

Our current roster of athletes include road racers, marathoners and track athletes competing at the highest level of the sport. We target high quality, high profile races that enrich athletes’ careers and provide them with a forum to reach their top potential. The racing focus is on quality, not quantity. The training is rigorous, combining both the art and science of coaching. Having been a TrainingPeaks user since the beginning it was only logical that use it to coach these athletes.

Using the TrainingPeaks platform, I will be posting workout profiles of different individuals in the group, analyzing the results, explaining the purpose, and discussing the whens, wheres, and hows of the workout. You’ll see heart rates, interval times, recovery periods, and sometimes train wrecks. Looking at both “stellar” workout and utter failures will be equally important. In life, you often learn more from disasters than you do from success and perfection. Therefore, we’ll look at both and discuss why certain things happen to certain athletes at certain times. And, most importantly, I’ll provide input on how to incorporate such training sessions into your own (or your group’s) schedule using TrainingPeaks.

My goal with this blog is to post informative, imaginative, and hopefully even entertaining, articles every month or so about happenings within The Harmbee Project. At times it will be light and fun with whacky stories about training with East African runners. What they eat, how they spend their off time (mostly sleeping), travel stories, race stories and other various curiosities. Others will be chock full of training data and analysis. Informative, but entertaining.

I look forward to you joining me for future posts. Until then, happy training!

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