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Coach Sang reveals secret behind Faith Kipyegon’s incredible season

Sunday, December 17th, 2023 15:50 | By
Faith Kipyegon wins the 5000m at the Diamond League meeting in Paris. PHOTO/Getty Images
Faith Kipyegon wins the 5000m at the Diamond League meeting in Paris. PHOTO/Getty Images

Faith Kipyegon's coach Paul Sang has revealed the behind-the-scenes factors that helped the middle-distance runner enjoy an incredible season this year.

When the season started, Kipyegon's main aim was to win a world title, which she did when she conquered the Budapest Championship by winning gold medals in the 1500m and 5000m races in August.

Sang, who also coaches marathon star Eliud Kipchoge, has now revealed that Kipyegon started the season with much optimism.

“The best way to reflect is that for any success story, it starts with an idea.

“Faith started the season with a lot of optimism. She felt like she had done good work. She had two Olympic medals, four World Championship medals, but in all this collection, one thing that was missing was a world record, especially in the 1500m – an event she has done for ages.

“She had the focus. We changed a few things in training because we wanted her to also try the 5000m," Sang told World Athletics.

World triple record holder Faith Kipyegon. PHOTO/World Atheltics
World triple record holder Faith Kipyegon. PHOTO/World Atheltics

This season, Kipyegon participated in different disciplines in which she excelled, except in the Riga Road Championship, where she faced her first defeat of the campaign. Sang revealed why her student had to widen her focus, which she did incredibly well.

“Human beings thrive on incentives. When you run out of incentives, you get to a plateau where whatever effort you put in gives the same returns. If you create a new set of incentives, then, whether it is an employee in the workforce or an athlete who is performing, in this case, specifically Faith in her running, the output is greater. That’s what we did.

“We opened space for Faith to understand that the world of athletics is bigger than just performance on the track. That window was opened, and it created new sets of incentives: ‘You know, besides running very fast, I can also influence society positively.’ This has come in as an interesting set of incentives for Faith," the coach added.

Kipyegon's return

Kipyegon returned in 2019 when she came back from maternity leave the same time she started working with Sang.

“To give the best to an athlete, you also need to learn more about the athlete. Since that time (2019), I have been in a learning process. I wanted to learn more through small adjustments.

"One of the key adjustments for 2023 was to adjust our base training. We expanded a little bit because we wanted to see what she could also do in the 5000m," the experienced coach continued.

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