Phil Sesemann is no stranger to the running community. Based in the UK, Phil has evolved as a student-athlete for years, taking both studies and training seriously, before focusing on marathon distance more recently. But earlier this year, Phil went above and beyond to secure himself a place to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, which he successfully did with an outstanding time of 2:08:04 at the Seville marathon.

Dive into Phil's training leading up to his Olympic qualification standard and his build up to become the 3rd fastest British marathoner of all time!

What It Takes to Qualify For Paris 2024?

On February 18th, Phil toed the line of Seville Marathon in the streets of Sevilla, Spain, in hopes of breaking the Olympic qualification standard of 2:08:10. A very bold objective considering Phil only just established his new personal best at 2:08:48 a few months earlier at Valencia Marathon.

To be honest, I was overwhelmed with emotion, crossing the line under the Olympic Qualification standard was something I had dreamed of doing for so long. It has taken a lot of hard work and patience, both from myself and those who are closest to me.

COROS Education. Average marathoners can sustain about ~85% of their Threshold Pace for a full marathon. Elite runners can sustain for up to ~98% of their Threshold Pace with enough training and experience.

For all elite marathoners, the ultimate objective is to maintain a pace that is as close (or fast) as their Threshold Pace. Phil has been able to average an outstanding 3'01"/km for the whole duration of the race, which refers to ~97% of his Threshold pace. This achievement is only made possible with countless hours of dedicated, specific training towards marathon performance. Thankfully, Phil's perseverance paid off this year as his incredible time at Seville Marathon not only gave him an entry to the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, but also made him the 3rd fastest British marathoner of all time.

Phil wearing the COROS heart rate monitor during a big threshold session on the track.

From Medicine to Marathon

Even though Phil has been an elite runner for a few years now, it does not prevent him from taking time for his other passion- medicine. For years, medicine and running have both been side by side in Phil's life. However, his recent breakthrough in marathon has allowed Phil to take on his training at the forefront and leave medicine in the backseat.

COROS Education. Base Fitness is your 42-day rolling average of Training Load. It represents a good way to understand your body's ability to sustain harder workouts.

In the last year, Phil's training has increased exponentially with a primary objective to meet the Olympic qualification standard. We can notice a major increase in Base Fitness from July to December 2023 to prepare for Valencia Marathon and successfully get out with a new PR. It only took Phil 2 months to recovery, build again, and compete at Seville Marathon to shave 44 seconds again and set another PR at the marathon distance.

However, seeing such amazing improvement at high level is not an easy feat. Phil did double work for more than a year to reach this level and earn his place with elite marathoners. In 2023, Phil averaged 175km (109mi) of weekly running distance from which he completed almost half of it with his two dogs- Kipchoge and Haile.

En Route to Paris 2024

Now that he has earned his place at Paris 2024, Phil's main objective will focus around the Olympics later this season.

Reaching the Olympics is far further in this sport than I ever truly believed I could go. It has given me a freedom to continue attacking and pushing my training to elevate my fitness and reach for the highest possible level.

All eyes on Paris, Phil heads to the Olympics in the best shape of his life!

The COROS team wants to congratulate Phil for his inspiring achievement at the Seville Marathon and looks forward to following him at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games!