Krista DuChene, Olympian, one of Canada’s all-time fastest female marathon runners, has a plainspoken wisdom that only a fool would ignore. Two of my favourite Krista anecdotes are these. First, after she came in third at the 2018 Boston Marathon, a race where the conditions obliviated her competition, she came to speak at BlackToe to a group of runners and described marathon running like this: at least it’s not pregnancy. With pregnancy, you never know when it will end. At least with marathon running, every step you take is one step closer to the finish line. You always know exactly where you stand and you’re always—or, almost always—getting closer to the end all the time.
The other Krista story I love is how she trained going after Silvia Ruegger’s marathon record. Krista would drop her oldest off at daycare and, due to timing constraints, run her speed work around the sport’s centre behind the school. She has a common sense, anti-flashy, no excuse get ‘er done approach to running that feels very Canadian, opposite of gimmicks and hype. So, since she’s a realist and now a running coach with Reid Coolsaet at CoolsaetGo, I asked her about 2023 goals. “The best approach is to pick your race, then work backwards from the race date with your training,” said DuChene, who also mentioned meeting her athletes where they’re at during the start of their training. In other words: if you’re running 20K-per-week currently, your PB in 2019 doesn’t matter.
“Set up your training towards your race gradually, and be sure to not only set up your peak week, but also enough down weeks along the way.”
This year, DuChene set the 30K W45 Canadian Record at Around the Bay and ran the Chicago Marathon. She says the trick to her longevity—a trick she encourages all runners to replicate—is to lean into the process. “A lot of the joy is in the pursuit,” she says. “We like the daily routine of getting up, having coffee, going out and doing our run and checking the box off of our training plan. It’s fun!”
As for fuelling, DuChene, a dietitian, believes in oatmeal, smoothies, and pancakes and waffles with her kids on the weekends. She doesn’t want eating to be punitive.
“I’m currently looking forward to my aunt’s butter tarts,” she says.
When you’re planning your 2023 goals, DuChene has no problem with you being ambitious. It’s fun to imagine yourself setting a PB and there’s no reason not to shoot for the moon. However, even the most hardcore athlete, should also cast an eye, says DuChene, towards long-term wellness and health.
“When any athlete meets with me to pursue coaching with CoolsaetGo, I always tell them I just want them to be active for life,” she says. “Running is great and obviously something I’ve devoted a lot of time to, but good health is what matters. When thinking about your goals for 2023, I just want you to stay active—above anything, that’s my main goal.”