Hamilton’s Reid Coolsaet won the Chilly Half over the weekend, opening his road racing season. We had a quick chat with him about how training has been this winter, through record-breaking cold, and the time he spends in Iten.
Canadian Running: Were you happy with the outcome yesterday? Did you have any times in your head you were hoping to hit?
Reid Coolsaet: I was happy with the race. In the past I’ve been 20-25 seconds faster. One second per kilometre isn’t much considering it was -6C.
The roads were clear, the course is flat and it was calm. Under those conditions, at minimum, I wanted to run faster than marathon pace. Top-end that day was 63-low.
CR: It’s been pretty cold. How has training this winter been?
RC: The past six weeks have been good, but cold enough to be challenging. Too much treadmill than I would prefer but can’t complain. I don’t mind the cold most of the time but some days were too cold for fast sessions.
CR: What do you think would surprise people the most about living and training in Kenya? Of all the places you could train, what takes you there?
RC: Maybe how slow the Kenyans run to warm-up or how fast they run towards the end of a run some days. Or perhaps how big some of the training groups are. I’m still surprised about the depth in such a small town.
Iten, Kenya, is a great spot to train because of the sheer amount of talented and devoted athletes. The weather and altitude make it pretty appealing.
CR: You’ve done a good number of marathon buildups now. Is there anything you’re still learning or still surprises you about the process?
RC: I learn a lot every build-up. This time I learned not to over-do it at altitude. I came out of Kenya feeling better than ever. Other times I felt fit but also fatigued.
I’m also learning every build-up can be different and still be good. In the past I would try and duplicate my preparation I did before my PB. There are too many factors in play that can change the way you train.
CR: Do you have a racing schedule set out for the summer?
RC: My next race will be the Rotterdam marathon. Everything after that is up in the air.
Would you race Pan American Games in Toronto if the possibility is there?
RC: The possibility is there, depends on how the next two months go. I would love to race a championship race at home but I can only run so many marathons in a year and have to prioritize my goals.
This interview has been edited for style and clarity.