When initally writing this post, M2M Coach Justin Kent was about to board a flight to Gdynia, Poland to race in the 2020 World Half Marathon Championship on October 17th. Justin qualified to run for Team Canada but due to a sharp spike of COVID-19 cases in Poland, Athletics Canada announced that they would be withdrawing the team from racing at the championships this upcoming weekend.
We sat down with Justin to talk about his training and preparation in the lead up to this big race and to see what his plans are now that he will no longer be racing at Worlds.
Q: The half marathon is a relatively new race distance for you. It wasn’t that long ago that you were primarily a 1500m runner. Can you tell us about what went into the decision to make the jump up in distance and how your training changed to accommodate the longer race?
A: Yes, from the outside in it might look like a big jump. Although I think if you ask my coach, Richard Lee, he’d say he’s been slowly and ‘secretly’ grooming me for the longer distances. Even when I was training for the 1500m I was running more volume than a typical 1500m runner would.
Over the years I’ve grown to love racing on the roads, something about it really allures me; whether it’s the atmosphere, the community or the simplicity of it— I’m not sure, as coach Rob would say “I just dig it”. As soon as COVID cancelled the possibility of a track season I took it as a sign to move up in distance and see what I could do on the roads.
Q: Tell us more about the qualification criteria for the World Half Marathon Championships Canadian team. Was it a time standard you needed to meet? How did you go about it? (* asked prior to the announcement of Canada withdrawing)
A: Yeah, it was a bit trickier this year with COVID playing a factor. After the World Half Championships were pushed to the fall, Athletics Canada extended the deadline to run the standard for the team until Sept 20th. The only consolation was that you had to run the standard (65:46) in a sanctioned event which made things difficult since most races had been cancelled due to COVID.
We were lucky enough to reach out to the Comox Road Running group and they were gracious enough to set up a half marathon for our team to chase the standard. Luckily everything came together on the day and I had fellow M2M Coach Luc Bruchet help me run a 64:20 putting myself in the mix for the team.
Q: Since qualifying for the team, what has your preparation in the lead up to the race looked like? Can you walk us through a typical training week?
A: We’ve kept things pretty similar to what I’ve been doing the last 6 months or so. It’ll probably look like a lot of other M2M plans, just maybe with a bit more volume. Still getting a weekly long run-in with two quality workout sessions, nothing crazy just a lot of consistent hard work.
Here’s a snapshot of a week recently:
– AM: Long Run – 29km – 1:49:00 – 3:46/km pace
– PM: Physio + Strength
– AM: Easy 45min run – 12k
– PM: Easy 35min run – 8k
– AM: Track Session @ Empire Field – 4x (2k-1k)
5:54, 2:52, 5:51, 2:49, 5:45, 2:48, 5:44, 2:46
– AM: Medium Long Run- 22km- 1:29:00 – 3:58/km
– PM: Physio + Strength
– AM: Easy 35min run – 8k
– PM: Easy 42min run – 10k
– AM: Stanley Park – 3x5km – 15:13, 14:58, 14:46
– AM: 45min easy – 12km
– PM: 35min easy – 8km
Q: Now that it has been announced that Team Canada will no longer be participating in the Championships, do you have any plans to compete on your own and if so, when and how can we follow you?
A: Oh yes, I still plan on running a half marathon this weekend. It won’t be as intense of a setting but it’ll still be an opportunity to test my limits. I’ve got a route mapped out around the Vancouver Seawall that I’ll run this Sunday. You can follow along on my IG @jkent_ (and on the M2M account). Gun goes at 9:00 am (PDT) Sunday.
On Sunday, Justin will be running in support of KidSport British Columbia. Justin’s hope is that he can help provide a kid with the opportunity to experience the joys and growth that come from access to organized sport. To learn more, please visit: www.kidsportcanada.ca/british-columbia/ #SoALLKidsCanPlay!
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