Tristan Woodfine lights up Half Championship

Tristan Woodfine lit up the Intrepid Dezine Half Marathon on Sunday, both taking the Canadian Half Marathon Championship title and setting a new course record of 1:04:44 (shaving 24 seconds off Abduselam Yussuf’s 2015 record). He’s had a great season so far, winning the Race Roster Spring Run-Off for the third year in a row, and setting an exciting PB at the Houston Marathon in January. Tristan was kind enough to tell us a bit about the secrets of his success so far and what his big plans are for the fall race season.

Congratulations on winning the Canadian Half Marathon Championships, as well as shaving a minute off of your PB. What do you think were the major contributors to your success on Sunday?

Thank you. I think the biggest contributor has been just really solid consistent training this year. Over the last few years I’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t in training and while I don’t have it completely figured out, I’ve been able to take those things that seem to be effective and do them consistently.

How did you feel coming into Winnipeg knowing how competitive the male field was for the Championship? Does it enter your head on race day, or is that all just chatter leading up to the event?

I felt confident in my preparation leading into the race and knew I could be competitive. Overall though I don’t worry too much about who’s in the race, I try to just focus on getting the best out of myself on race day. That being said, having such a strong group of guys definitely helps bring out your best on race day.

You’ve had a phenomenal season so far this year, running a 2:18:55 in May at the Ottawa Marathon and then shaving three minutes off that with a 2:15:19 at the Houston Marathon in January. What is the mental difference between getting yourself ready to run a full over a half?

The difference in the mental approach comes with the difference in training. During marathon training you’re doing lots of long fast runs which helps hone your ability to cope with being uncomfortable for 2+ hours.

What goals have you set for yourself to build on your successes moving into the fall race season?

The big goal for this fall season is chasing Olympic qualification at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon. It definitely won’t be easy but after the race in Winnipeg it gives me some confidence moving toward that goal.

Have you made any changes to your training in the past while that you feel have made a difference in your performance?

When I started being coached by Greg Kealey back in the fall of 2017 there were some significant changes to my training that have made a huge difference. There was definitely an adjustment period but being consistent with this program over the last couple years has starting paying off this year and I’m noticing some significant improvements.

What was the most personally challenging race you have ever ran and why?

The most challenging race I’ve ever done was probably the World University Cross Country Championships in 2014. The race was in Uganda and with the combination of heat, a bit of altitude and long travel; it was probably the worst I’ve ever felt during a race. The whole race just felt awful but I ended up running pretty well. I learned a good lesson in positive self-talk that day.

Do you have any pre-race rituals or traditions that you have to make sure you get in on race morning?

Not really, I try to stay pretty flexible with race morning because you never know what can happen. The only exception to that may be having a good cup of coffee. I don’t want to feel like I need to do something in order to have a good race. I think it’s important to be able to deliver a good performance no matter what happens on race day.

If you could travel back in time to the start of your running career, what would you tell yourself?

I would tell myself to just relax and enjoy the process and journey more. I think as a younger athlete it’s easy to get caught up in the final result and feel all doom and gloom if things aren’t going well. At the end of the day though it’s just putting one foot in front of the other. Being able to get outside and enjoy going for a run is the most important thing.