Paula Findlay has been on roll since her return to racing on the world stage at the ITU Grand Final in Edmonton where she was 15th, running her first 10km in two years. She then raced to fourth at the Cozumel ITU World Cup and grabbed a string of silver medals at the Caragena ITU World Cup and two non-drafting races, LifeTime Tri Oceanside and the Noosa Triathlon. This weekend she joins some of the best runners in country at the 2014 Canadian Cross Country Championships in Vancouver, BC. TMC checked in with Findlay on her race this weekend and her plans for the future.
TMC: Coming off a great comeback triathlon season, what has made you want to shift and race cross country?
Paula Findlay: I started my triathlon season pretty late due to a stress fracture early in the year, so I still felt really motivated to train and race after my last triathlon (Noosa) on November 2nd. I’ve been in Australia doing a base/strength training camp with my coach Siri Lindley, so racing cross country nationals fits nicely with this type of training. It’s certainly not a hugely important race for me, but I’m traveling through Vancouver to get home, so it was really perfect timing to stop and race. It also gave me a target race to keep training diligently through November.
TMC: On the surface it seems like it’s a move away from triathlon training, but is there something about cross country that you think will carry over?
PF: It’s definitely not a move away from triathlon training. Running is perhaps the most important discipline for me right now, building up the strength and endurance that I’ve lost over the past three years with my injuries. So, it actually fits in perfectly with the type of training that I would be doing anyways at this time of year.
TMC: What have you been doing differently in your training to get ready for running in spikes?
PF: Nothing in particular, I actually haven’t raced in spikes for a few years, but I race in flats for triathlons with minimal support. I’ve been doing so much general strengthening throughout this season that I don’t feel it will be a risk to race in spikes.
TMC: Cross Country Nationals is at Jericho Beach, Vancouver–a notoriously slow, hilly course which is likely to be rainy and muddy. What are your thoughts about the race venue and your race strategy?
PF: I don’t have a particular race strategy, but I’m generally a strength runner so those kind of hilly courses suit me. We’ve been doing lots of hill running and strength on the bike over the past few weeks, so I think I’ll be ready for this type of course.
TMC: Do you think you can qualify for the World Championships and is that a goal?
PF: This is certainly not a focus of mine as I think Cross Country World Championships are March of 2015. At that time of year I’ll be fully emerged in the triathlon season, and 2015 is a particularly important season for me as the Olympic qualification has begun. This is probably just a one time thing, as it fits in well with my December training.
TMC: You were registered to race Challenge Bahrain in December but since removed yourself from the list. Are you contemplating a more extensive move up in distance?
PF: No, Rio is my total focus right now and I’m not contemplating a move up in distance. I was on the list because Siri (Lindley) and I thought it would be a great opportunity to do my first 70.3, and fits in well with the training that I’m doing. Ultimately we decided, with Triathlon Canada’s advice, that it was not worth risking injury or over-racing in December when the next few years are so important to me. I will certainly do a longer race eventually, but we decided this was not really the best time, since I have done so many races since September.
TMC wishes you the best of luck this weekend.