Early on Monday evening, Canada’s best marathon woman, Lanni Marchant, set out on a 30K simulation run just 46 hours after running and winning the 10K championships in Ottawa.
Why? Ever since hitting Canada’s Olympic qualifying standard at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, she has intended to double in Rio by running both the 10,000m and the marathon. The events are spaced out by 46 hours in Rio and so by mimicking a similar experience on Monday, Marchant was aiming to prove herself capable to Athletics Canada. The organization is responsible for deciding which athletes will run on Team Canada.
That was the plan on Monday, but on Thursday we reported that Marchant may not be named to Canada’s Olympic team for Rio. This information came after a phone conversation between Marchant and Athletics Canada head coach Peter Eriksson. The official team is being announced on July 11. While Marchant has not been given a clear-cut no, she feels that it was suggested in the conversation that she’d be sent to Rio solely for the 10,000m. Nothing will be confirmed either way until July 11.
So what all went into the Monday workout? Marchant has broken her simulation run down for us. Here are the take-home points:
She ran 30K at a 3:38 pace. Initially, she was planning for a 3:30 to 3:32 pace but because of the weather, she adjusted her pace. “Because of the heat and humidity, I was in contact with Trent Stellingwerff [the lead physiologist at the Canadian Sport Institute] about adjusting it. He said to adjust it five to eight seconds slower per K,” says Marchant.
Her pacer dropped out after 8K. This was not the plan. She was supposed to be paced the entire way. Her pacer, a runner from Kenya, stepped on a rock though and stopped after eight kilometres. “When he dropped, I had a minute of panic when I thought, ‘OK, am I going to be able to do this on my own?'” Luckily, Marchant had a cyclist who was with her to hand her her bottles and so he ended up being a backup pacer. With 11 kilometres to go, she saw her original pacer again though he was in no shape to run.
It was hotter than Rio, windy and humid. She started the run at the Canadian War Museum around 5 p.m. It was close to 29 C in Ottawa at the time the workout began. By contrast, in Rio, it was 25 C. Typical temperatures in the Brazilian city in August are around 22 C as August is rainy season or “winter” in Brazil. Not only was it hot and humid in Ottawa, it was windy. Marchant’s run was an out-and-back route with a headwind on the way there.
“I was pretty excited to turn around,” she says. When she did though, the tailwind turned into a crosswind. “It wasn’t the most ideal [thing] but that gave me hope. I was excited and hopeful for Rio. [I ran] in conditions that are way warmer than what we’ll see in Rio,” she says.
Her recovery involved her first day off in two months. “I had Tuesday off. It was my first day off since April,” she says. To be more specific, she says it was one of the first days in April. On Wednesday, the athlete did two easy runs, an easy run on Thursday and Friday she will focuses on speed.
Her problematic calf muscle was not so problematic on Monday. “I said I was going to do it and I did it,” says Marchant. “This is the farthest I’ve run since I set the record without that calf cramping up.” That calf is often a problem for her and so she’s excited about that outcome. “I’m excited for what I can hopefully do in Rio,” she says.