Eric Gillis is one of the elite runners who will be competing in this year's Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. The 30-year-old from Antigonish, N.S., represented Canada in the 10,000-metre at the 2008 Olympics. He made his marathon debut earlier this year in Houston, finishing in 2:13:52. He is aiming for 2:11 at the Scotiabank. Having the right hydrating and fuelling strategy will be key to reaching that goal, he says.
What drew you to the marathon distance?
Seeing myself as a distance runner and seeing that I had endurance. And I enjoy the longer stuff. I just always knew that I would do the marathon.
What challenges are you finding in training for the marathon?
Staying healthy is the big one, especially with putting in tons of mileage. I do about 200 kilometres a week in training. The first marathon went really well and that gave me a ton of confidence. I did get a little injured at the beginning of July. But I've come around and I have my stride back and I'm feeling good.
How important is hydrating and fuelling in your training?
The biggest change in training has been consistently practising taking in fluids and taking in carbohydrates during my workouts. When I was training for Houston, I would be trying to max out my system and just get used to taking in fluids and carbohydrates without my G.I. system getting upset.
You definitely don't want those issues affecting you on race day.
Exactly. When we did 40 km the other day we really simulated taking in the same amount of fluid and the same amount of carbs at the same time throughout the whole run. That way it will just be second nature once the race does come around. They're won't be any surprises.
This interview has been condensed and edited.