The 2017 Canadian Cross Country Championships take place November 25 in Kingston, Ont. We will profile a few of Canada’s top cross country competitors leading into this year’s event. For more information: http://athletics.ca/championnat/2017acxc
Charles Philibert-Thiboutot of Quebec, Que., is the two-time defending Canadian champion at 1500-metres and represented Canada at 2016 Olympic Games. He placed in bronze medal position at the 2015 Canadian Cross Country Championships.
AC: You battled a few injuries last summer. How’s the training been going and what adjustments have you made to have a great 2018 season?
CPT: I feel like a mix of bad luck and training load management was the cause of a series of injuries throughout last summer. I took a lot of time off and I sat down with my team - my coach and my head physiotherapist - to try to figure out how we could do our best to prevent such events in the future. We tweaked the training plan to allow more recovery after hard sessions, and I now have an extensive rehab and strength physiotherapy plan to make my body stronger and prevent overuse injuries that can happen as you get older and push the body to new boundaries. As of now things are going really well.
AC: In 2016 you represented Canada at the Olympics in the 1500-metres. You’ve also run well at 5000-metres. Which distance will you focus on in the build up to Tokyo 2020 and why?
CPT: The next few years will be dedicated to the 1500m for sure, and we even plan on a step down to race some 800m runs this summer. However, to me, even if my best event is the 1500m, I really think that regardless of the distance you specialize in, any middle distance athlete has to develop both his strength and his speed the most he can. That is why I don't think racing XC is incompatible with my 1500m goals, and why I love racing off distances like 3000m, 5000m or 800m.
AC: What do you like most about racing cross country?
CPT: It’s all about guts, instincts and mental grind. The most «raw» form of foot face. I've seen a trend of «tactical» XC races lately at the collegiate level and I hate it. To me you should work with the environment, throw surges and push yourself to the limit to see who can hang. While everything on the track is very metric and calculated (and I like it that way when I'm on the track), I love that in XC you could win the race by throwing in a massive surge it's first half. That is impossible to do in track.
AC: There have been some well produced video montages of your recent workouts. How were those created and are you going to start your own Workout Wednesday series?
CPT: My friend and teammate Nicolas Morin geared himself up with a nice camera as he is starting his own visuals production company. I thought it would be a nice idea if we could team up to create content aimed at Instagram, with short story lines and appealing visuals and sounds. I'm really happy with the result of the first one, and hopefully we will create other videos in the future on different subjects. The first one was on XC, but I would like to explore other subjects related to all aspects of training. Can't say more! 😉
AC: What’s your objective for the race in Kingston and for the 2018 season?
CPT: Just send it. Give my best and help Équipe Québec and Laval track club to make it to the top of the podium. World indoors, Diamond Leagues and PB's all across the board would be nice for 2018.