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2019 – Goals and Resolutions

January 21, 2019

Now that it’s 2019 it means the qualifying window for the 2020 Olympics is now open. Tokyo is the big goal. The lure of the Olympics is definitely the reason I’m training as hard as I am. Of course there are short term goals, but those all tie into the Olympics.

I have three New year’s resolutions: sleep more, blog more and focus more on the “extras.” Now that Elodie is approaching 8 months our sleep is getting a little less interrupted and I’m getting into a better routine. The better routine should allow me to accomplish my resolution goals.

If you’re wondering what the “extras” are… well that’s lifting weights, drills and core work that go hand-in-hand with running. I haven’t lifted weights for many years but I feel the need to now and started to lift in December (squats and deadlifts). I’ve been inconsistent with drills and core in the past 2 years and I need to be on top of that stuff.

With sleep so important to runners (and especially ageing marathoners) I wanted to upgrade to a king size mattress to accommodate the kids crawling into bed. Luckily I was able to partner up with Recore, a Canadian made mattress. It’s really comfortable and I have had great sleeps since using it. I was a little worried that a foam mattress would be hotter but it’s made with graphite-infused foam that disperses heat and has vertical air channels to allow air flow. And if I didn’t like it, well there’s a 120-night trial where you’re able to send it back, free.

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Another reason it works well for us is that the top cover zips off easily for laundry and is made with antimicrobial fabric. Plus, with it’s latex construction there is very little motion transfer, which means Louis can be jumping on the bed and I barely notice.

I’m excited to say that I’m going to continue to represent New Balance in 2019. The shoes continue to work really well for me. I use the 890 for the bulk of my running, 1500 for tempo and intervals, 1400 for intervals and racing and the Hanzo to race 10km. Plus I use the 910 and Summit Unknown trail shoes for snowy weather and technical trails.

I’m also going to keep using Endurance Tap to fuel my marathons. I’ve been using Endurance Tap for years and will start using it more during my marathons.

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There are two big things coming up: A 10-week training camp leading up to a Spring marathon. Unfortunately I don’t have anything to report on the marathon front as I’m still finalizing details and even when I have that confirmed I will probably have to wait for the official announcement date.

The training will take place in Boulder, CO. I’ve never been to Boulder but have heard great things about it and have wanted to go there for years. One of the reasons we picked Boulder is that the whole family is driving there and it’s significantly closer than other altitude locations I was considering. As in two days less of driving!

We will spend some time in Michigan with my parents and then make the rest of the journey from there. The drive from Michigan is about 19 hours and with two kids (plus fitting in a run each day) we will want to spread the driving over four days.

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Athletics Canada sent out a High Performance Newsletter email the other day that had a very interesting piece of news in it: The first Canadian man and woman at STWM 2019 will automatically be selected to the 2020 Olympic marathon team (as long as that athlete achieves the IAAF and AC standard for the Olympics).

I like this idea and it should make the race that much more exciting. On the men’s side if Cam goes and runs even faster than last year it might not really make any difference, but cool nonetheless. However, on the women’s side the auto-selection could be very interesting and exciting. There are many more women than men in Canada right now with Olympic qualifying potential . The IAAF marathon standards for the 2019 World Champs are 2:16 for the men and 2:37 for the women. In the past year there have been 2 men under that time (Levins and Woodfine) but there are 8(!) women under 2:37 (Cliff, Tessier, Middleton, Elmore, Gollish, Myrand, Sexton and Duchene).

There are drawbacks to allowing auto-spots coming from a race that also includes many other elites from other countries. Anyone could recruit other runners to act like pacemakers. Once again, this is more relevant to the women as they could easily recruit men running in the 2:26-2:37 range to help them out. Picture a woman running behind 3 men in a “V” position for 42km snagging that spot.

Also, someone like Cam Levins, who should easily qualify for Tokyo may want to race Worlds in Doha (both STWM and Doha are in October). What would prepare Cam better for the Tokyo Olympics? Another paced marathon in cool temps (he’s running London this April) or, running a championship race in hot conditions? (Tokyo is forecasted to be very hot) Otherwise Tokyo will be his first championship marathon and probably his first hot marathon. Having only 1 auto-spot at STWM will give athletes an opportunity to run Worlds in October if they should desire to do so. If it sounds as though I’m trying to convince Cam to race Doha to give me a shot at the qualifying spot you’re only half right, haha.

The IAAF standards for the 2020 Olympics are supposed to come out in March and AC said they would follow shortly thereafter with their standards. Will IAAF keep to their word and use a World Ranking system to get to 80 entrants in the marathon or will they revert to a time standard like they did for WC 2019?

In the meantime it doesn’t really matter what the standard is, I will keep training to run as fast as I can in the marathon this Spring and see where that lands me. At least I should know the standard before I toe the line.

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Boxing Day 10 miler in Hamilton went well. I ran 49:37 for 16km (yes, I believe the course to be about 90 metres short) for fourth place. Going into the race I wanted to average 3:03/km and I ended up with 3:06/km. The conditions were good this year and the field was even more competitive than last year. There was a group of 6 of us through 4 miles when Ben Priesner and Wendimu Adamu faded off the back. I fell off the trio of Matt Hughes, Tristan Woodfine and Mike Take 800 metres later. At the halfway mark I was only about 5 seconds back from them but after a couple of corners and a downhill I was destined for fourth as I lost a lot of ground very quickly. Those 3 guys all beat the old course record and I hope they all run fast in 2019 to put my ass-kicking into perspective. (Tristan just chopped 3 and half minutes off his marathon PB in Houston yesterday with a 2:15).

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I analyzed that race a lot in the days afterwards because I couldn’t decide if it was good or bad (spoiler alert: neither). If I had averaged 4 seconds per km faster (3:02/km) I would feel as though I was ready to PB in the marathon this Spring. Had I run 4 seconds per km slower (3:10/km) I would be very worried about my fitness. It’s funny how such small differences can mean a lot in this sport.

Since then I’ve been plagued with a cold that will just not go away. I’ve backed off my intensity until I kick this thing. That means I’ve cut some workouts out and reduced others to 12 minutes of work. A few days ago, feeling a bit better, I did 7 x 3 minutes and that went alright. Usually I would be between 30-60 minutes of work at this time in my training. Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise and I’ll have less wear on the body going into marathon training.

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Bonus: Here is a link where you can enter to win a Recore mattress!

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