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Kenya 2016

January 27, 2016

Here’s a link to the blog I wrote for the CBC “Players Own Voice” outlining my racing decisions heading into an Olympic year:

Canadian Record or Olympic Glory: What carries more weight in 2016?


I’ve been in Kenya for one week now and it’s been a different experience than my last 5 times here but eerily similar to my first trip. When one comes to Iten it’s best to be fit, used to running hills and uninjured. I’m none of those at the moment.

Before I left for Kenya I got an MRI to make sure my injury wasn’t anything that was going to stop me dead in my tracks. The results showed no stress fracture nor any ligament tear. With that news I decided to take off for Iten, Kenya.

The first time I came here I hadn’t run much in the 6 weeks prior to mid-January. That time I was able to get into decent shape and run well at the NYC Half Marathon on March 20th (62:42). I’m looking at a similar timeline this go around as I get ready for the World Half Marathon Championships in Cardiff, Wales on March 26th.

I ran 100km last week (you can see my training on Strava) with no quality. Yesterday I tried a 6km pickup in my run. I suffered on the 6km and felt horribly out of shape. On top of that I can still feel my injury when I run (it feels better as the run progresses). Where I’m standing right now it’s hard to imagine I’ll be ready for a big race in March.

On the bright side I can see some progress as I was able to include a pick-up and, generally, my injury is feeling better. Also, I’ve been in this situation before, where I start to question everything because I feel slow. I know if I can stay healthy the fitness will come. I just have to be patient and trust the process.

With 8 weeks to go from this Saturday there is still time to be ready for Cardiff. I’ll need everything to go right. If things don’t go great I will focus on another race later in the season. With Rio the main goal I can’t take unnecessary risks with my training now.

I don’t think it really matters to me if I train at altitude or not in the months right before a big race. But I find altitude and soft surfaces have an advantage when getting in a solid base. Right now I’m able to run a little slower and yet make it harder on my cardiovascular system with the altitude. I love the hills here (most of the time) and the dirt trails are probably better for my injury than being on the roads.

A few people have mentioned to me that it’s probably better to be somewhere warm to heal. I hadn’t thought of that much and not sure if it really makes a difference but it can’t hurt I guess.

I also got 2 massages the first 4 days I was here. At $7 for one hour the price is right. The first time I was slotted right after former marathon WR holder Wilson Kipsang, so I have to believe I’m in good hands.


This time around I’m rooming with John Mason. Once again there are many familiar faces at the camp and in town. I keep seeing some of the locals I’ve trained with and tell them I won’t be joining them until I’m fit. Hopefully in a couple of weeks I can update that I’m running with the Kenyans here.



(I’m trying to get a lot of photos up on Instagram while I’m here. Follow @reidcoolsaet)


  1. January 27, 2016 11:35 am

    Good to see your pics online and glad you are in a warm place. Keep up the great work!

  2. January 31, 2016 1:23 pm

    Keep up the good work Reid. I received the same diagnosis on my injured foot this week and I feel your frustration. As you chase 2:10, I’m nearing the 9:00 barrier in the 3k and know how hard it is to deal with setbacks. Keep sharing your story and stay positive! It’s really great to know I’m not alone. Good luck going forward and keep making Canada proud.


  1. Canada's two best marathoners calling Iten, Kenya home for the winter - Canadian Running Magazine

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