Brian Michasiw on a run. Photo by T2 Social.

Sask. Marathon tips from a six-time champ

Brainsport owner Brian Michasiw has lined up at more than 30 marathons across North America and Europe.

He’s felt the electricity of standing among 50,000 runners at the New York City Marathon and heard the crowds roar as he powered up the Boston Marathon’s legendary Heartbreak Hill. But one of his favourite marathons is the one closest to home: the Saskatchewan Marathon.

Michasiw has run the Saskatchewan Marathon at least 10 times since the late 1980s and is a six-time champion. His most memorable race was in 2016 when his coach and son cheered him on in the final kilometres as he battled out of fourth place to narrowly land a third-place podium finish.

“Just being in your own community with your friends and knowing so many people, I don’t know if it gets any better than that,” he says.

Scenes from the 2016 Saskatchewan Marathon.
Scenes from the 2016 Saskatchewan Marathon.

Michasiw has signed up to race the Saskatchewan Marathon again this spring and hopes, at age 52, to break the three-hour barrier for his fourth consecutive decade after running sub-three in his 20s, 30s and 40s.

In advance of the race, Michasiw spoke with the Brainsport Times to share some advice for others lining up at the Saskatchewan Marathon.

Have a plan

“Regardless of your experience level, having a plan is just critical,” Michasiw says. “It’s the difference between someone getting to the finish line versus not even showing up to the start. I’ve run 30-some marathons and I need a plan, or else it’s just not going to happen.”

There are many marathon training plans available for free or a fee online and many good coaches in Saskatchewan and virtually across Canada who can build and adapt individualized training plans. Having a plan helps make your running consistent and allows you to build up to the marathon distance safely.

Expect hiccups

“One thing that I think is important for people to remember, regardless of their experience level, is chances are they’re going to have an ache or a pain that’s going to sidetrack them in some capacity. And that is normal. That’s just part of the journey,” Michasiw says.

Missing a few workouts won’t destroy your chances of having a good race — but running through injury can. Don’t be afraid to take an extra day off if needed and connect with a health-care professional like a physiotherapist if you have concerns about a specific ache or pain.

You might never feel ready – and that’s OK

“At a certain point in time, you just have to decide, OK, maybe it’s not going to be perfect, maybe I’m not going to run as fast as I want, but you’ve kind of just got to get going sometimes,” Michasiw says.

Those who wait to execute the “perfect” race may never get to a start line.

Get shoes for training and racing

Michasiw recommends people get at least two pairs of running shoes for a marathon build: one for the weeks of training and one for race day and a few key workouts beforehand.

“You kind of want to have a fresh pair in your possession a month before the race,” Michasiw says. “I want to have lots of tread going into the race, lots of outsole going into the race, so I’m not running on a bare outsole which will affect my form and my cadence and I won’t have a good performance.”

Some runners may want to invest in additional pairs of shoes depending on their mileage and the types of surfaces they run on.

The Saskatchewan Marathon takes place May 28. You can sign up online now.