How Reid Coolsaet Fuels for an Olympic-Calibre Marathon
As Reid Coolsaet ramps up his training for a run at qualifying for a third consecutive Olympics, the two main strategies that are keeping the 40 year old injury-free are smart training and fuelling. “I do a pretty good job of playing it smart. Listening to my body,” he says from his house in Hamilton, Ont., where he has settled into a life as a parent, and his second decade of professional marathoning. “If something hurts, I take the day off.” Coolsaet has learned from his mistakes. “There’s a certain injury I get every year where my shin kind of hurts,” he admits. A few seasons ago, he tried to do what he often did previously and ignore it. He eventually found himself out for six weeks. “I used to run through that all the time, but now I don’t do that.”
A part of Coolsaet’s new preemptive approach is to get his fuelling right, and not just on race weekend. He almost exclusively relies on Endurance Tap. “Right before I set my PB in Berlin, I remember having an Endurance Tap walking up to the start line. That was 2015,” he points out. “Now, I’m putting them in my bottles, mixing them with water, having them every five kilometres.”
For marathons, Coolsaet mixes approximately 200 ml of water with one Endurance Tap, drinking a bottle every five kilometres. “I try to aim for 50 grams of carbs an hour, so that’s two Endurance Taps an hour,” he says. As a 2:10 marathoner, that means four pouches gets him to the finish line.
Coolsaet leaves nothing to chance. He has a similar routine for workouts, stashing water bottles mixed with Endurance Tap along the route. On long runs, he’ll carry the gels with him, ingesting them as is. “That’s the great thing about Endurance Tap is that I can take them without water, which I was never able to do with any other gels.”
Otherwise, Coolsaet is a man of simple routines. He eats a pack of oatmeal (mixed with one Endurance Tap gel—another benefit to his gel of choice being a simple blend of maple syrup, sea sat and ginger) two-and-a-half hours before his race. He jogs for 10 minutes—eight of which is slow and two of which is at 4:00/km pace—followed by a couple of strides. He subscribes to the advice given to him by former elite British marathoner Jon Brown: “All you want to do is enough that you can hit race pace off the start.”
While these routines seem simple, Coolsaet is hoping they will be enough to propel him to Tokyo in 2020. “Going to a third Olympics would mean a lot to me,” he says. “I think if I didn’t try and make the Olympics, I’d always wonder what if I could have made it?” Coolsaet will race at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in October with the goal of hitting the Olympic standard (2:11:30) or at least getting in a solid time around 2:13 to up his world marathon ranking.
Tokyo, however, will not be the stopping point for Coolsaet. The Hamilton runner still plans on eventually transitioning to ultramarathons and trail races, but for now “the Olympics are the motivation and driving force behind running hard.”