Dylan Wykes won the Ottawa 10K on Saturday, his first national championship win in nearly a decade. After a long hiatus from competitive racing, Wykes came back on Saturday to take the championship in a surprising victory in 29:55.
The runner jokes that his race plan really changed when he got to the start line. “Justin Kent [who finished second] came over to me just before the start of the race and said that a bunch of guys had dropped out. Then I reconsidered my race plan.”
Over the past couple of months Wykes has worked his way up to 120K of running a week, raced Around The Bay and remained injury-free. “Right now I’m running around 75 miles a week, six days a week. I always take one day completely off so that I can spend time with my family. It’s usually a Saturday or Sunday.”
In terms of the structure of his training, Wykes does two workouts a week which range between eight and 12 kilometres of hard running. “Right now the focus is on the half-marathon champs, which is in a couple of weeks. My workouts are anything from fartleks to tempo runs to straight up intervals. Always on paths, I never go to the track anymore.” Wykes has been coached by Richard Lee of the B.C. Endurance Project since 2010.
How he’s stayed injury free
The Mile2Marathon coach says he avoids the track because he puts too much emphasis on intensity when he’s there. “I waver from the pace I should be running when I’m at the track. Knock on wood, I’ve been doing well injury-wise. I ran a lot on the treadmill over the winter, which I think this was good for me in terms of injury. It was a steady surface and forced me to keep my pace consistent.”
Another aspect of training that Wykes has improved upon is taking necessary time off. “I’ve gotten better at managing the little injuries that pop up, taking four or five days off here and there when something doesn’t feel right. That’s something I wouldn’t have done in the past and then I would’ve ended up injured.”
Up next for Wykes are the half-marathon championships in Winnipeg on June 16, but for now he’s not putting too much pressure on his running. “I don’t have the same expectations I used to. That change of mindset has been helpful. I used to feel so much pressure to achieve and now I’m just running, and doing well feels like a bonus.”
Wykes isn’t looking to run professionally again (professionally in the sense of putting everything on hold to focus singularly on running). He’s got a successful coaching business, he’s got a family and he’s running well while juggling his life. “I’m not looking to change much about how my life is structured, but if I can find ways to dedicate more time to training I will try and do it. It might require a bit of shuffling but I would never go back to running as the only thing I’m doing.”
In terms of Olympic or national team goals, Wykes says it isn’t off the table. “I don’t think I’ll ever run the times I used to. But I don’t think this means I can’t still get good results. I’ve got something thinking to do on that one.”