Conversations about Running

Podcast with the Kenya Experience team

Join Gavin, Callum and Hugo as they discuss all things running with wide ranging conversations about serious and not so serious issues within the running world. Our three hosts each bring a unique perspective to the conversation allowing us to go in depth on important topics as well as share personal anecdotes and experiences on running and racing.

The Podcast is hosted by Gavin founder of Kenya Experience, alongside Callum who works in the Kenya Experience UK office and Hugo who is our Head Coach on camp.

Listen to our podcast just for fun, to learn from Coach Hugo, or to get to know the team behind the Kenya Experience camps.

One of our most popular episodes of Conversations About Running so far is Episode 3: Myths of Kenyan Training, where we discussed some common misconceptions about Kenyan training methods. Of course, that begged the question, ” so how do the Kenyans really train?”. In this episode your usual host Gavin Smith, along with Kenya Experience coaches Hugo van den Broek and Callum Jones, discuss the typical training routines of Kenyan athletes and what runners of all levels can learn from their program 🇰🇪

In the last episode of Conversations About Running we discussed some of the things we believe are over hyped in the running community, but forgot to mention one the biggest contenders in this category: running form. Online and on social media you can find dedicated running form coaches and even entire companies dedicated solely to helping runners ‘improve’ their technique. But we believe this has gone too far. In this episode we talk with our coaches about why running technique should not be seen as the ‘be all and end all’ and how there are far better, more sustainable, and more constructive ways of improving your technique than doing complicated running drills and intricate exercises. In many cases, a more efficient running form can help improve performance, but not to the extent we see it sold online and there is certainly no magic ‘one size fits all’ formula.

Running is a sport that you can get the most out of by really nailing the basics. Yet many runners turn their attention to the 1%’s, the small details which, while they can help you to become a better runner if done correctly, pale in comparison to consistently executing the fundamentals. In this episode of Conversations About Running, the team behind the Kenya Experience running camps discuss the reasons why some of the finer details of the sport, such as running drills, and abstract recovery methods, have become the focus of attention for many amateur runners 🤔 are people searching for the icing on the cake when they’ve forgotten to buy the flour?

Join coaches Callum Jones and Hugo van den Broek alongside founder of the Kenya Experience running camps, Gavin Smith, for more Conversations About Running. In this episode we chat about the record breaking performances in Valencia which, of course, led to the hottest topic in running right now – shoes! We said we wouldn’t dwell on it, but with new players in the game, the topic is just too irresistible. Hugo gives us an insiders view on the world of professional running; contracts, sponsorship, management – what’s the deal? And we finish with a debate about what our sport needs to do to get people more excited! Listen to Hugo and Gavin have a good old argument about Lord Sebastian Coe 

In this Episode of Conversations About Running the team behind the Kenya Experience running camps follow on from episode 8 and discuss how their own training fits with various theories and models. Gavin gives some insight into his most important weekly training runs and talks about why his key workout is designed to be comfortable and controlled ? Hugo sheds some light on different types of threshold training and tells us why it’s so important for runners of all levels to include some in their program.

Could the 80/20 method be holding you back? In this episode of ‘Conversations About Running’, distance coaches Hugo van den Broek and Callum Jones, along with founder of the Kenya Experience running camps, Gavin Smith, dissect the highly popularised 80/20 training method. Many amateur runners have heard about and even practice the 80/20 method and the theory of polarised training but very few have read the research behind it. Luckily, Hugo has, which is why in this episode, like a child’s wind-up car, we wind him up and let him go on the subject. Hugo pulls apart the theory and sheds some much needed light on what the research really says and how it should be interpreted by the vast majority of runners ?

Join us, the team behind the Kenya Experience running camps, for episode 7 of Conversations About Running.

In this episode we look back on some exciting races that have taken place in recent weeks, including Joshua Cheptegei’s incredible 5000m world record. How much help was the new LED peacemaking system when going for a world record attempt? And how on earth do you find pacers who can keep up that pace!?

In the second half of the episode we turn our attention to the rise of Norwegian distance running, calling on Callum’s recent experience of training with some of the top runners in Norway. How have the Ingebrigtsen brother’s influenced the training approach of a nation? Could this be a country to keep an eye on in the coming years as times get faster and faster ?

Join the team behind the Kenya Experience running camps for episode 6 of Conversations About Running. In this episode Hugo, Gavin & Callum chat about their experiences of racing in the distance running capital of the world ?? before this podcast we each chose a photo that we would use to help describe our most memorable race, you can find our photos on our Instagram page (@the_kenya_experience) and Facebook page (The Kenya Experience). Callum recalls one of the most painful races he’s ever ran, looking back with mixed feelings of being humbled & inspired and also slightly embarrassed to finish near last ? Gavin shares a few classic Kenyan racing stories, including running alongside a worker in full office clothes and shoes during a hard 10km cross country race. While Hugo tells us about a 5k track race that got the Kenyan crowd on their feet as he started picking off stragglers one by one. Enjoy!

How is new shoe technology changing our sport? Are athletes training harder and longer as a result of better shoes? Is this a new era of racing? Can we compare today’s race performances to those before the dawn of Vaporfly Technology? In this episode of ‘Conversations About Running’, Callum, Gavin & Hugo get stuck into conversation about the pros and cons of carbon fibre plates in shoes and discuss the changes this technology is having on our sport. Hugo talks about the difference between the trainers he raced in as a top class athlete ‘back in the day’ and the injury issues these types of shoes have caused for many athletes over the years. Surely introducing better trainers is an over all positive for all levels of athletes? What affect is it having in the world of professional running? Join us for episode 5 to hear our thoughts!

Join us for episode 4 of the ‘Conversations About Running’ podcast where Gavin, Callum & Hugo put each other on the spot with some thought provoking (mainly running related) questions. Hear about Gavin’s experiences of running a business while training as an athlete, Hugo’s thoughts on modern tech in the running world, and why Callum feels somehow disheartened and inspired when training with elite Kenyan runners!


In episode 3 of The Kenya Experience Podcast Gavin, Callum and Hugo debunk some common misconceptions that many westerners have about the way Kenyan athletes train. In particular we take a look at the well known workout ‘Kenyan Hills’ and why they have probably been given the wrong title. We discuss a type of recovery run which has become known as a ‘Kenyan Shuffle’ and why this should not be the one thing we take away from Kenyan training. And finally we talk about running form and drills; how do Kenyan runners have such great form without paying much attention, if any, to running drills? Enjoy!

Join Gavin and Callum for a chat about the latest in athletics, including the ‘Ingebrigtsen 5km road race’ and what differences the latest running shoes make to performance. In their own training Callum attempted a solo 10k time trial later to find out he had just edged inside Gavin’s pb of 31.06. It looks like a race might be on the cards ? Gavin discusses his return from injury and the fluctuations in motivation he has experienced during ‘lock down’ as a result of not being able to run. The team delve further into the topic of motivation when they are joined by Coach Hugo van den Broek from his home in Iten who sheds some light on how to train at your best even when you lack the motivation to do so – an issue encountered even by the most elite athletes in the world.

The world is in the midst of a world-wide pandemic, and in this, the first episode of The Kenya Experience podcast we discuss what it’s like to be a runner during this time of uncertainty. Gavin and Callum discuss their experiences as athletes in the UK during ‘Lockdown’ and Hugo joins us live from Iten, where he updates us on the situation in Kenya and how coronavirus is effecting life for him and the professional runners who are based in Iten.

For Callum it’s been fairly plain sailing and without any races on the horizon he has been able to enjoy a relaxed approach to his serious training (he’s run 14:20 for 5k!). For Gavin, it’s been a tricky few weeks having picked up an injury early during the UK’s lockdown and subsequently being unable to access treatment. After sulking for a few weeks, he has since hit the bike in an attempt to retain some sanity and some fitness. Whilst for Hugo much of day to day life remains unchanged.

In the first half of the podcast Gavin and Callum also give some background info on themselves, and recall their own journeys to Kenya’s ‘Home of Champions’ in Iten. In the second half Hugo considers the differing motivations of athletes in Kenya which may depend on their own level of running and their financial situation. As well as letting us know what it’s like to coach elite athletes during this period, Hugo also gives his advice for runners of all levels who want to emerge on the other side of the pandemic as better runners than before. Thanks for tuning in and we hope you find something of value during our chat.

About us: Gavin and Callum make up the UK Office of The Kenya Experience, Gavin having founded the company in 2010 and Callum joining us in late 2017 initially to help with content production and social media work in what is now an ever evolving role. Hugo van den Broek is Head Coach at The Kenya Experience. He is a 2:12 marathon runner originally from the Netherlands who has lived in Iten Kenya for over a decade where he is married with 2 children. Hugo has a masters degree in Human Movement Science and alongside his work with The Kenya Experience he also coaches elite athletes including the Indian Distance Project and professional runners from Europe and Africa as well non elite athletes from around the world.

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Our running camps provide an inspirational location, expert coaching and a supportive group environment for runners of all levels.With an emphasis on ‘doing it the Kenyan way’ the camps include guided runs, practical workshops and an exciting itinerary outside of the actual training itself which will immerse you inside the Kenyan running scene. You will meet and learn from top Kenyan runners & coaches and interact with the local community in Iten under the guidance of our expert staff.  Click here for details on our training camps.

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