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In the pursuit of qualifying for the Olympics, athletes undergo rigorous training regimes, pushing their limits to secure a coveted spot on the world stage. Rory Linkletter, one of the best Canadian marathoners who is sponsored by Puma, shares insights into his preparation leading up to the Seville Marathon 2024, where he aims to qualify for the Paris Olympics. Since Canada does not hold a marathon trials like the United States, Athletics Canada has a discretionary committee that chooses athletes to go to the Olympics who have hit the qualifying standard. As of February 17th, 2024, only 1 Canadian man has hit the Olympic Standard of 2:08:10. That man is Cameron Levins. With meticulous planning and unwavering determination by himself and his coach Ryan Hall, Linkletter navigates through grueling workouts, strategic race selections, and cutting-edge gear, all in pursuit to become the second.

In his own words below, Linkletter recounts the highs and lows of his training regimen, shedding light on the challenges faced and the strategies employed to overcome them. As the countdown to Seville ticks away, every mile, every interval, and every recovery session becomes crucial in shaping his journey towards Olympic qualification.

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Have you done anything differently in this build up (Nov-Dec-Jan) in training either mentally or physically?

We started this block with a speed focus, this is something that was very successful for me in the past, that’s why I raced a mile only 2 months prior to my goal marathon. Since then the focus has been mostly marathon specific with a lot of the classic marathon type of workouts.

Can you give a short overview of the block so far? 

Phase 1 – Shorter races: Manchester road race (4th) and Boston Mile (3:59), then we started the proper marathon block in early Dec. Phase 2 – I did 5 weeks between 105 miles and 118 miles, then we raced the Houston half marathon (took a down week). Phase 3 – We followed that with 3 weeks at higher¬† mileage again. Phase 4 – the 2 week taper. My favorite key workouts I’ve done – 10×1 mile @ 2000m Elevation off 60 sec rest (averaged 4:39). 16x1k w/200m jog rec @ 2:53 (@1000m elevation), 10 Miles Moderate (5:40)/10 miles alternating pace each mile between 4:57 avg and 5:07 avg (on Lake Mary). Finally, the classic 15 mile threshold @ Marathon effort.

Hardest 1 or 2 workouts leading into Seville so far?

The hardest workouts thus far, we have done one longer threshold where I was supposed to cut down every 5 miles, starting slower than MP, then MP, then faster. I got to 12 and didn’t have it on that day, it is my only “failed” workout of the build thus far, it was coming off only 2 days after a 40k long run and my legs just weren’t ready. Aside from that I’d say my most recent marathon simulation was generally tough. 2 mile warmup, 10 miles @ 5:40, then 10 alternating pace above and below marathon effort by a few seconds. This one was hard because I was battling some cold and wind on Lake Mary.

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Any thoughts on easy run paces/data?

I don’t have any rules for easy runs aside from keeping it easy, I wear the Coros HR monitor on my arm as of late and generally average about 125-130 bpm on a hilly route with anywhere from 4:15-4:25 per/k. I have been trying to do between 70-90 min in my morning runs on most recovery days. Doubles vary based on how the morning felt and what I have in the coming days but similar pace for 30-50 min.

What inspired you to start a Youtube channel?

I was inspired by my friend Adam Wood, he’s become somewhat of a star, and he made it look pretty fun! I also thought no better time to do so than an Olympic year.

What are your favorite/recommended products/services?

I’ve been loving the Fast-R 2 this build, Puma is making some real cutting edge racing stuff. I feel better than ever running fast paces and I think one component of that is the technology they’ve created. I have also loved my new Rudy Project Astral, and any Ciele cap!

What comes after Seville and between Paris?

Ideally Seville will punch my ticket to the games. So assuming that’s the case, I’ll get back on the track and do shorter road races in the spring to keep the speed there before a hard push to Paris. In the event I still have work to do to lock up my spot we are looking for a back-up marathon.

With relentless determination and unwavering focus, Linkletter’s journey towards running the Olympic standard culminated in success. In the Seville Marathon 2024, Linkletter achieved his goal, hitting the marathon standard for the Paris Olympics crossing the line in 2:08:01. While his Olympic qualification is not 100% yet, he is only the second man to hit the Olympic standard for Canada. Athletics Canada can choose up to 3 men to send to the start line in Paris. Selection is imminent for Linkletter.

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