5 Life Lessons From Eliud Kipchoge

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Eliud Kipchoge is arguably the greatest marathon runner to ever live. His list of achievements is nothing short of remarkable.

He currently holds the world record for the fastest marathon in a time of 2:01:39 hours, which he set at the 2018 Berlin Marathon. In 2017, he missed out on becoming the first person to run a marathon below the 2 hour mark by 26 seconds, coming in at a time of 2:00:25. He won a gold medal in the 2016 Olympic games, where he smashed the field in the marathon event. His personal best for a half-marathon is 59 minutes and 25 seconds.

Kipchoge’s athletic feats are truly remarkable, but he isn’t done yet. Kipchoge will attempt to break a two hour marathon again in late 2019, with the challenge being supported by INEOS who now own the British cycling team after taking over the reigns from Sky.

‘Eliud Kipchoge is the greatest marathon runner and the only athlete in the world who has any chance of beating the two-hour time. We are going to give him every support and hopefully witness sporting history.’ Sir Jim Ratcliff, Found and Chairman of INEOS

I was lucky enough to see Kipchoge in action at the 2019 London Marathon, the day he ran the second fastest marathon in history (second only to himself!). It was a special moment for me to see Kipchoge leading the running pack with his trademark look of dogged determination.

As you’d probably guess, Kipcoge’s amazing achievements can be credited to his brilliant work ethic and personality. We can all learn something from this remarkable athlete. In this article, we’ll look at 5 life lessons from Eliud Kipchoge which you can apply to not only your running but also to your life. Enjoy.

1.Value your team

‘You cannot train alone and expect to run a fast time. There is a formula: 100% of me is nothing compared to 1% of the whole team. And that’s teamwork. That’s what I value.’

Kipchoge is somebody who understands the importance of having a great team around in order to achieve great things. To achieve all of his athletic marvels, including the world record marathon time, Kipchoge trained extensively with the help of his team.

His team includes pacers, coaches, sports psychologists, physiotherapists, nutritionists and doctors. All of these individuals contribute in some way to Kipchoge’s success. The pacers help him stick to a specific pace, the nutritionists formulate the best diet plan, the coaches push him out of his comfort zone.

Though Kipchoge is a naturally talented runner, he understands he wouldn’t achieve the fast times that he does without the support of his team. In respectable fashion, he doesn’t claim all the glory for himself. As per the above quote Kipchoge is extremely lavish in praise for his team. He gives full credit where credit is due and truly values the team that helps him achieve so much.

How can you value your own team?

Firstly, understand that you need great people around you to help you achieve great things. Secondly, make sure you value your team and give them full credit where credit is due.

So, what does this team look like then? Whatever you do in life, there will be a unique team around you which help you achieve your goals. Your team can be made up of a wide variety of individuals. Colleagues in the workplace, family members, fellow musicians, sports team mates, business partners and so on.

Colleagues will help to deliver a project you’re leading on for a client. Your wife, kids, siblings and parents will contribute to feelings of security and happiness. Musicians in your band play their part to help create a brilliant sound. Team mates on a football team might set up the perfect goal for you. Business partners might spend hours finding the best value for money supplier to help your company stay financially viable.

Seek out great people to help you achieve your goals, achieve your goals and then give full credit to those that helped you. Showing your team you value them is smart because it means they will feel appreciated and will be more likely to keep working with you to help you achieve more.

There are tonnes of ways you can value your team. Gifts, social praise, affection, money, positive feedback and general appreciation are all ways of showing your team how much you value them.

Don’t try and go it alone; be like Kipchoge and value the team you have around you. As the old African proverb goes ‘if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.’

2. Live with passion


‘Passion is a choice. You need to choose to be great. It’s not a chance, it’s a choice.’

If you’ve ever seen an interview with Kipchoge immediately after a race, you’ll know that he literally beams with passion for the sport. He loves running with all his heart and speaks without hesitation when asked about the performance he just gave. Training and competing as a professional runner is Kipchoge’s passion and he is clearly living it.

How many of us can truly say we are all living our passion? It’s horrible to say but millions and millions of people wake up every single day to an unpassionate existence. Most people draft self out of bed, rock up at a job they don’t like and typically spend between 30-45 hours a week at this place of work.

Lots of people know they’re not living their passion in their jobs but put up with it because they need to make ends meet and put bread on the table. Not the ambitious existence we imagined for future when we were in school, college or university.

It’s easier said than done but living your passion is the best choice you can make in life. Kipchoge equates being passionate with being great. When you’re doing what you love, you feel great and like you’re doing meaningful work that will make a true impact in the world.

How do you know if you’re doing something, you’re passionate about?

I have a simple rule. If you find yourself truly immersed in the task, not clock watching and forgetting about the time, you will be passionate about it.

Take a painter who starts a landscape painting at 10AM.  After what felt like 30 minutes, they look at their watch and find it’s actually 2PM and they afternoon has wizzed by! They were so immersed, so engrossed, so passionate about the task that sensations of time simply slipped away.

Some call this state of doing passionate work being in the ‘flow’. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi wrote a brilliant book about it, which I would highly recommend.

If there’s something we can learn from Kipchoge and apply to our everyday lives, it’s to live with passion. Stop living someone else’s dream and pursue what you’re passionate about. When you do, you will beam with passion like Kipchoge in his interviews.

3. Embrace simplicity

‘In life, the idea is to be happy. So, I believe in calm, simple, low-profile life. You live simple, you train hard and live an honest life. Then you are free.’

As the above quote suggests, Kipchoge prides himself on living a simplistic life. He doesn’t pursue tonnes of different hobbies, interests and sports. Instead, he keeps it simple. Kipchoge dedicates most of his productive time on upping his running game (a game which he seems to be winning at!). I think we can learn a lot from Kipchoge and his simplistic approach to life.

In 2019, our lives are chaotic and filled with thousands of different things which take up our time and energy. Work, social media, sports, books, family, partners, business, fitness, music, computers, advertising, TV, games consoles and more, all demand our attention.

Without being careful, it’s easy to get sucked into a vacuum of taking on to many different things which can quickly lead to overwhelm and feeling unable to cope.

What’s more, splitting your attention between lots of smaller projects means you won’t be able to master one thing. Living a life where you split your efforts amongst many different projects means you will become average at a lot of things rather than great at one or two things.

As Gary Keller said in ‘The One Thing’, ‘ Success demands singleness of purpose’ and ‘multitasking is a lie.’

Be like Kipchoge and invest your time on one or two ‘main’ things in your life. If you dream of flawlessly playing Chopin’s Nocturne in E Flat Major, focus your efforts on just the piano. For those who want a promotion at work, pour your best efforts into impressing clients and colleagues. If you want to become the next Kipchoge, spend your time running and upping your game!

Live life the simple way, like Kipchoge. Focus on one or two main things to become great at, and you will feel much more in control and satisfied with life. Commit to it today.

4. Believe in the impossible

‘No human is limited.’

Kipchoge doesn’t believe in limits. He is constantly trying to challenge what is deemed to be ‘impossible.’ By pushing himself further than anybody has pushed before Kipchoge has reached a new level of excellence, like running the fastest official marathon in the history of the world.

Kipchoge wants to break a 2-hour marathon in late 2019 is to follow in the footsteps of Britain’s Sir Roger Bannister who became the first man to break a 4-minute mile in 1954. A feat previously considered impossible, but Roger proved them otherwise. Kipchoge loves examples like this and always tries to defy what is deemed possible. A true inspiration.

In life, we’re often brought up being taught about the walls of the world and informed we must play our part within them. Very rarely are we encouraged to expand these walls. We’re often told that things are the way they are, and we just need to accept them and live our lives. Hardly empowering or inspiring to make a different in the world.

Kipchoge doesn’t believe in these walls. Kipchoge believes no human is limited in their ability and that we all have unfulfilled potential we can unlock if we dare.

Roger Bannister was the first man to run a mile in under four minutes, even though everybody believed it was an impossible feat. Walt Disney was told he lacked creativity and was fired from a newspaper company he worked at before starting Disney. The Beatles were rejected from an audition with Decca Records.

Despite being told their dreams were impossible and they lacked the talent to achieve them, these people all defied the odds and achieved greatness.

In life, so many of us live thinking that certain things are impossible when they can be achieved with a little courage and heart. Take a leaf out of Kipchoge’s book and don’t believe humans have limits. Believe in the impossible.

5. Be disciplined

‘Only the disciplined ones in life are free. If you are undisciplined, you are a slave to your moods and your passions.’

I love this quote. To be great at anything in life, you need to be disciplined. Simple as that. What does be disciplined mean? It means showing up to put in the work every single time. No ifs, no buts and no excuses. As Kipchoge is one of the best runners in the world, it’s obvious he has a tremendous discipline.

Kipchoge has an intense marathon training regime, typically clocking over 100 miles a week It doesn’t matter if Kipchoge is tired, doesn’t feel like running or would rather be doing something else, he puts in the time and completes the training. He is disciplined and not a slave to moods and passions. Therefore, he can achieve greatness in the running world.

Could you imagine what your life would be like if you were more disciplined? Imagine having the will power to cut down on social media, Netflix, junk food and bad friend groups. Imagine if you invested this time on more productive tasks like building great relationships, practising a musical instrument, mastering a sport or new language, studying for an exam and so on. The list is endless.

My greatest tip for becoming disciplined in life is to have a powerful reason ‘why’ you need to complete a task. If you need to get a promotion at work, your reason ‘why’ might be to provide a better future for your family. It could be to lose weight and become fitter to live a longer life. You can bet your bottom dollar Kipchoge has a powerful reason for why he runs in the first place.

Once the reason is strong and convincing, you’ll find it much easier to discipline your self and the likelihood of going off the rails are very slim.

If you need help discovering your reason ‘why’ to become disciplined, I’d highly recommend Simon Sinek’s book ‘Start With Why.’

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