This article have been previously published april 27th.
One of our favourite athletes. Why? of course, he is really damn fast, an 2:11:29 marathon PB, but he also have a pretty good attitude and his blog is a must read. After his victory in the Half Marathon national championship. We wanted to do an update to know what’s is coming next for him.
Hi Reid. Congrats on a solid victory! I talked to you briefly before the Scotiabank Montreal Half Marathon on Saturday (Reid took first place in 64 minutes). I was quite surprised by your demeanor. A pre-race conversation with elite athletes usually sounds like: « I just came off a huge training block, so I’m not 100%. » But with you, it was: « I’m in pretty good shape. » Any advice for the folks with a negative vibe? Having a positive attitude is always beneficial for me and, specifically, for the 1/2 marathon champs I felt prepared so I’m not going to hide it. Sometimes runners like to play down their preparation for a certain race to deflect expectations and reduce pressure.
Our first language is French and our English is functional at best. We have no clue how your last name is pronounced. Help us out?
Coolsaet is pronounced Cool-set. It’s Belgian.
Running the fastest marathon by a Canadian in XX years must give you substantial confidence in your fitness level. How do you leverage that confidence during a hard training session or during a race like in Montreal?
I don’t really think about having run the fastest marathon in Canada in 24 years on a day to day basis. Sure I’ll use those stats to help my career but when I’m training I’m thinking about improving and being competitive on an international level. I can’t rest on what I’ve already done, I have to look forward.
Many successful marathon distance runners have a track and/or XC background. What did your first strides look like? Dabble in any other sports before settling to running?
I’ve always run XC but I was late getting into track because I favoured skateboarding in the spring and summer through highschool. I would downhill ski race in the winter right through first year of University. It was apparent by the time I was 19 that running was my strongest sport. At the University of Guelph I was in a great position to really focus on running and see my potential.
When did you have that « ah ha! » moment where you realized you might be able float with the fast dudes?
The first time I felt like I was competitive on a national level was in 2002 at the National Track and Field champs in Edmonton. In the 5000m I ran with Jeremy Deere, Jeff Schiebler and Sean Kaley until the last 500m. Their PB’s were all at least 50 seconds faster than mine so I felt like I was ready to improve my own PB.
Many runners at Trimes feel that you need to « get fast » before « going long. » What¹s your opinion on that?
It seems like most people focus on speed early while they increase their training load with age/experience. To run well at longer distances you have to put in the miles and you have to build them up over years to avoid injury. I felt that I got faster in the 1500m when I was focusing on the 5000m for many years so you don’t have to lose speed when focusing on longer events. I obviously don’t feel like I’m going to run a 1500m PB off of marathon training although the base mileage can easily be transferred to other events with specific training.
Do you really think that a runner can only peak 2 times per year for a marathon?
Two peaks in a year for the marathon seems right to me but three is definitely not a stretch by any means. With a 16 week specific build-up and a few weeks recovery you’re looking at 4 months for one marathon cycle. However I would want to spend some time focusing on 10km races between cycles and that is why I think 2 marathons per year is optimal. Or just one per year.
What’s going on in Guelph, Ontario? They are breeding fleet feet at SpeedRiver and at the Regional Training Center. (Simon Whitfield?) What are they putting in the municipal water supply?
Guelph is where it’s at for distance running since Dave Scott-Thomas started coaching there in 1997. For years it was the XC team at U of G and then the post-collegiate scene grew as well. We have a diverse group of distance runners which makes it fun to do workouts with everyone. Sometimes the guys from the Regional Triathlon Centre will workout with us as well. There’s a good vibe in Guelph and great running routes.
What’s your daily training at home like? Do you have a good group at home?
The trails in Hamilton and Guelph are really good so it’s nice to be able to run in both places every week. I do all my hard sessions with the guys at Speed River in Guelph. In Hamilton I run alone a lot or with different groups of friends.
What kind of races are you planning to do this summer?
This summer I want to focus on the 10 000m to get my leg speed decent for when I start my marathon training. It’s been four years (!) since I ran a good 10 000m so it’s something that has been on my list to do for some time.
Do you think you can be sub 2:08 this year? I remember that after Toronto, you say that you wanted to be more aggressive in your training, is it still on plan?
My goal this fall, as it stands, is to train for a sub 2:10. I would have to run 2:09 before I can even think of sub 2:08. It would be great if I could go out with the lead pack at Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon but if they’re going out at 63:30 then it’s too risky for me.
My training won’t be too much different this year but I’d like to raise my average weekly mileage and have that good 10 000km fitness going in. I’m sure there will be some natural progression in the sessions as well.
2012 is obviously a big year with London in the sights. Canada has not been sending any marathon runners to the past two Olympic Games since the 2:11. AC/COC qualifying standard was not being met. What harm could come by sending a 2:14 Canadian marathoner to the Olympics? A medal would not be in reach but the experience the athletes would gain could benefit greatly four years down the road! What’s your take?
In 2009 AC sent marathoners who reached the minimum standard of 2:18 to the World Championships. I was able to compete at the World Champs with a 2:17:09 PB and place 25th. There’s no reason why a 2:12-14 marathoner couldn’t place in the top 10 or 20 at an Olympics or WC. I don’t mind AC making the standard tougher than 2:15 (IAAF A std) but I think 2:13 is plenty fast enough.
Marathoners don’t get many chances to qualify and if you hit nasty weather you have to wait another 6 months or whatever. When I ran 2:11:23 in Toronto we were blessed with perfect weather. Had it been a hotter day I surely would have run a minute, does that make me a worse marathoner? I don’t think it does but I would not have achieved the AC standard. That’s why I think the marathon standards do not have to be on par with the track standards. The other reason is that you can put hundreds on the line in a marathon whereas track events are limited by space, 8-9 lanes.
What¹s your favorite workout?
My favourite workout is a tempo run through the trails. Which is different from my more specific workouts which are tempo runs on the roads or mile repeats.
You were training in Kenya earlier this year. What are some key takeaways from your experience?
Training in Kenya was such a great experience for me. The thing I took away the most was the motivation and inspiration from watching so many good runners train. I learned a little here and there but my training is pretty much the same as before I went to Kenya. The program Dave has for me is already pretty similar to what they’re doing over there.
We know that you are doing a lot of crosstraining, specialy water running and cycling due your foot problem. Have you the feeling that crosstraining can really save your fitness when you are injured?
Unfortunately I’ve had to x-train a lot in the past few years because of injuries. Pool running, cycling and getting on the elliptical are not the same as running but it sure is a lot better than doing nothing. I feel that I can maintain a base level of fitness so when I come back it doesn’t take as long to get back into the swing of things. If you get injured for a week or so x-training can bridge the gap perfectly but after 3-4 weeks of x-training you’re going to need a few weeks of running to get your legs back under you.
I was surprised by your shoe selection for Saturday’s half-marathon. Any reason you chose a trainer instead of something a little more racer-inspired? Did you forget your flats? Something to do with an lingering injury? In case you can’t tell, we are self confessed sneaker geeks.
The shoes I wore for the Montreal 1/2 were actually a pair of marathon flats (RC769). They’re lighter (7.5oz) than trainers but heavier than typical flats. I was contemplating wearing my lighter flats (RC205) but I went for the extra cushion and to get used to what I’ll wear again for my marathon. Although NB is coming out with a new flat this summer (1300) which looks really good and I’ll likely start racing in that.
I noticed you run with a stride that can be described as « heel striking. » Does all the minimalist shoe, mid-foot/fore-foot talk get a little old? Ever consider changing your stride? If it ain’t broke don’t fix?
My stride has changed over the last few years, ever so slightly. I’m definitely not as heavy on my heels as I used to be. I think changing something like your stride has to come slowly. I like the idea of minimalist shoes however I think there is a time and place for it. The roads are not the place, grass and soft trails are.