Training tips from former Sask. Marathon champs

For Celeste and Tarrant Cross Child, the arrival of spring means it’s time to train for the Saskatchewan Marathon.

The speedy husband and wife both have their names immortalized on the Meewasin trail as Saskatchewan Marathon victors; Celeste won the race last year, while Tarrant was first across the finish line in 1998. Both boast numerous podium and top-age-group finishes in the marathon and the event’s shorter distances and are also very involved in the Saskatchewan running community; when not running themselves, they volunteer at a variety of events and lead running clinics across the province through their Child of the Cross organization.

With less than 15 weeks to go until Saskatoon’s biggest race weekend, Celeste and Tarrant spoke with the Brainsport Times to share tips on how to train for the Saskatchewan Marathon.

Set a realistic goal

For your first marathon, this may be simply to finish the race. Maybe you want to better your time from your last race. Whatever the goal, Tarrant recommends backing it up by registering, writing it down and telling someone so that you’re kept accountable. Another benefit of registering when you set your goal is you can save money on your registration fee; prices go up March 1.

Embrace winter running

Training for the Saskatchewan Marathon, which happens May 31, means starting to log mileage in February when conditions can be cold, snowy and icy. Celeste says she layers up and tries to train outside regardless of the temperature. She often runs on the Meewasin trails because they tend to be plowed quickly after a snowfall. This also gives her the opportunity to familiarize herself with parts of the Saskatchewan Marathon course.

Believe in yourself

Visualize yourself accomplishing your goal and don’t allow negativity to creep into your thoughts. “When you believe in yourself you are focused,” Tarrant says.

Surround yourself with positive people

Celeste and Tarrant train with a coached running group twice a week and run with friends throughout the week. The fact that the Saskatchewan Marathon is in Saskatoon means they can get friends and family to cheer them on throughout the race. “One year my parents and kids were all cheering for me near Ravine Drive where the race gets hard. Seeing them there really helped me pick up my pace,” Celeste recalls.

Have a plan

Whether you’re working with a coach or off of an online training plan, have a plan, trust the plan, commit to it and be consistent, says Tarrant.

Sign up for a tune-up race

Racing a shorter distance a few weeks out from a marathon can help give you a gauge of your fitness and how your training is going. It can also help you determine a goal marathon time and allows you to test out your morning race routine, race shoes and apparel. Celeste and Tarrant are looking forward to running in the Step Up for Mental Health run in early May and enjoy dropping in for the Mendel Riverbank parkrun, which hosts a five-kilometre time trial every Saturday.

Enjoy the process

“All of it. Highs and the lows. It makes crossing that finish line arms up head held high that much more victorious,” Tarrant says.