Imagining an attempt to train with 2012 Olympic champion Taoufik Makhloufi

By Stephen Kersh

February 21, 2017

On Monday, an interesting article by therapist and acupuncturist Evan Scully was passed along to me that detailed the training of 2012 Olympic Champion Taoufik Makhloufi of Algeria. You can find the complete article here. In an attempt to make Makhloufi’s reported training more relatable, I will be telling you if I could or could not complete the workout in question.

The article on ScullyTherapyClinic.com is broken up into detailing Makhloufi’s mileage, speed endurance sessions, speed sessions, race specific session, and recovery.


I’m coming out of the gates hot on this one. The article states Makhloufi runs at MOST 70 minutes once per week and his pace is a “painfully slow 9km an hour.”


So if he’s barely getting 6 miles in during his LONG run, then he’s running maybe a touch over 20 miles per week. This seems ridiculous and incorrect, but chalk one up for this guy because he’s keeping pace with the MakDaddy in this subset.


Things are beginning to get dicey at an astonishingly quick rate for me as BigMak’s training partner.

Here is one of his early season workouts:

3x (5×300). 300’s at 45 seconds with 50 seconds rest between the intervals.

I find this workout to be particularly troubling for a number of reasons. Mainly being I could not do it.

Instead of just not helping my training partner, MakAttack, I would recommend we take more rest. Probably closer to the 2-3 minute range. If he decided that was a bad idea (it’s not, it’s actually a very sound idea), then I would offer to find us some popsicles to enjoy after his workout.


Do not call it a comeback, but I think I’m back. MakDonald does 3x (5×100) uphill in 14-15 seconds as a speed session pretty regularly. Please note: getting through this workout is extremely dependent on the gradient of hill, but I would remind MakARoni about those popsicles I got for us after our speed endurance session. I would hope the popsicle nostalgia would make him smile and choose a less steep hill.

Just when you think you’ve found a new training partner for the rest of your life, iMak takes your ass to altitude to rip 3x (3×300).

Here are his splits:

  1. 38.95
  2. 39.55
  3. 39.55
  4. 38.97
  5. 39.98
  6. 38.68
  7. 39.52
  8. 39.92
  9. 39.28

I would not be a factor in this workout. One time I ran a 41-second 300 and I asked my coach if he thought that was going to count for the world record because there was no chance anyone could run faster than that.


By now, the MakChine won’t even look at me in the eyes. He is wildly disappointed in my lack of speed and how I accidentally ate both our popsicles after his last speed session. I’m fine with it, though, because I pooped my pants reading this workout. I imagine had I opted to “try my best,” I could have done small percentages of each interval.

800m (1.44) – I could run one 200 at 26 before bursting into flames. (25%)

500 (64.7) – I guess I could rise like a phoenix from the ashes before bursting into flames again after 200 meters. (40%)

400m (52.7) – I don’t think a phoenix can do the rise from-the-ashes-thing twice and I’m not trying to play God. (0%)

300m (39.2) – I’m still dead. (0%)

Being dead, I’m now omniscient and I am capable of knowing MakMiller was placed on earth to kill me during our time training together. This is the workout he completed as I watched him from the Cosmos.

1200m (2.44.65)

12 min rest

600m (1.22.70)

2.30min rest

600m (1.23.65)

Had he run 41-seconds for the last 300 of his 1200, he would have broken the 1500-meter world record in practice. Remember when I said how I thought I broke the 300-meter world record in practice? Well, MakadamianNut didn’t break a world record either, but he was also close. Pretty neat.


All I gathered from this part of the article was Makhloufi eats a few pounds of arugula per day and receives two-hours of daily body work. That sounds like hell. I’m dead because Return of the Mak killed me, but I’m chilling with some deity who feeds me not arugula and doesn’t make me get two-hours of daily body work. When I was alive I would get a 30-minute massage every few weeks and I left each session confused as to why the masseuse was trying to injure me. Not for me. You’re on your own, Mak.

Even though I died trying to become friends and training partners with Makhloufi, thanks for joining me on my quest of relate-ability and seeing how many popsicles I could share with an Olympian.

Stephen Kersh

Former collegiate runner for University of Portland and Georgetown, currently a professional runner weighing sponsorship offers from no one. Enjoys using the internet to message Scott Olberding and Paul Snyder about bad story ideas. Does not assume he will work at Citius much longer due to the bad story ideas. He once gave a TED Talk titled "Twitter: How We Are All Just Shouting into a Vacuum" to his best friend and his girlfriend on the beaches of Connecticut.