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Q&A: Reid Coolsaet on his Chilly Half victory and his training this year

Reid Coolsaet at the 2014 London Marathon.

Reid Coolsaet at the 2014 London Marathon.

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.

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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.