Home > The Scene

Krista DuChene reflects on proof of fitness requirement despite having Olympic standard

Krista DuChene reflects on training through this month ahead of a late-April or an early-May race in an attempt to prove fitness for the 2016 Olympic Games.

Krista Duchene

Canadian Krista DuChene, who recently ran to a second-place finish at Hamilton’s Around the Bay 30K, is one of two women, along with Lanni Marchant, to have run the Athletics Canada marathon qualifying standard (2:29:50) for the 2016 Olympic Games.

Canadian Running caught up with her following last weekend’s race to discuss training through the spring, her plan in the leadup to Rio and her overall fitness.

Because DuChene ran the Olympic standard last spring at the Rotterdam marathon (2:29:38), she must prove her fitness to the national governing body for athletics to ensure her spot on the Olympic team. Proof of fitness is referred to as competitive readiness by AC with the final decision to be made by July 28.

She needed to run 1:46:30 at Around the Bay, a challenging time on the course, on April 3 to prove her fitness. She crossed the line in 1:47:47.8 meaning she will be running another event in the near future. Earlier in the winter, she needed to run 1:13 at the Chilly half-marathon in Burlington, Ont. but finished in 1:16.

Training for Rio is on hold until she is able to prove her fitness in the upcoming weeks.

Canadian Running: First off, we’re in an Olympic year, obviously you’re wanting to stay in top shape. How has training been going and how have you been feeling?

Krista DuChene: Other than a nasty chest/head virus in March, I’ve been feeling great. Being a parent of three young children (and a dog) can sometimes result in challenging sleep but we seem to be over that temporary period. Training has been excellent – solid and consistent while safely and steadily increasing mileage and quality of workouts. Spending 90 minutes on weekdays in the pool is really starting to pay off. Mileage has been low (in marathon terms) at an average of 125K per week since December. We will start to ramp up when Rio training commences.

Provide some details on last weekend’s race.

The Around the Bay 30K race is always tough, really tough. I’ve done it eight times. I’ve often compared it to that of a marathon. I’ve completed 11 marathons. So I feel credible in saying that. There seems to be no point in that race where you just settle in and not have to think. On Sunday [April 3] it was a combination of hills, wind, cold temps, and more hills. I definitely lost more time on the rolling hills than I thought. Because I was not pushing my kids up and down hills in a running stroller on training runs, I wasn’t quite as strong. So I didn’t feel as great at that point. With the final 7K or so, I finished strong.

What were the highs and lows of Around the Bay?

Obviously my lows were: second place by 10 seconds and not hitting the time required to prove fitness.
My highs were: seeing my kids and husband at the finish, having peace about not hitting the required proof of fitness time, teaching my kids about trusting in God’s plan, receiving such incredible support from so many people, knowing I ran an excellent race, and enjoying sushi and some chocolate cake and cheesecake later in the evening. I will always have more highs than lows!

You hit the standard last year in Rotterdam and now you have to prove to Athletics Canada that you’re still in shape for Rio. Was your 1:47:47 good enough?

No, it was not. I am exactly where I want to be: peaking for Rio. Unfortunately, myself and other athletes may be forced to chase proof of fitness and risk burnout or peaking too soon before Rio.

What are your thoughts on your time from Sunday?

I am very impressed. It is the third time I ran 1:47. Consistency is huge. It proves, in my terms, that I am fit.

What are you working on now? Tell us about first priorities at this time.

My coach and I were planning to take April as an easier month before commencing marathon training, yet prepared to train through if necessary. So training through April it is. We are currently looking into running a half-marathon in late April or early May.

What’s going to be happening for you between now and the summertime?

Training, training and more training. About the only thing that will be different is that we will have a nanny to help with the kids since they will be finished school in mid-June. I’ve always promised myself that if I made it to the Olympics, I would pay someone to help around the house. I can train for three-plus hours but it is exhausting to then cook, clean, get groceries and care for the kids.

Editor’s note: Interview by Sinead Mulhern with edits by Tim Huebsch.