Following Dayna’s performance (1st: 1:11:45) at the 2011 edition of the Niagara Falls International Half Marathon, we caught up with her coach Josh Seifarth. Seifarth discusses what makes Dayna successful over long distances and the goals they share for the upcoming years.
How long have you been coaching Dayna?
I took over Dayna’s program full-time in June of 2010. She had finished her varsity career after indoor track with the University of Windsor at OUA’s and had a relative rest period after that before starting back up.
What are Dayna’s key characteristics that make her successful over longer distances?
I would describe Dayna as resilient, determined, and consistent. These characteristics tend to play into one another and form a great training foundation for distance training. It is no secret that you have to put in the work every day for long periods of time to have success in this sport. These are the reasons why she can train at such a high level while still working full-time. In fact, she goes to great lengths to complete her training exactly as I have written regardless of what changes I make after I give it to her!
When we speak of racing though, there are different reasons for her success. Dayna has an innate ability to “go to the well” so to speak. When it is required she is able to race above what is expected from training to meet personal goals. On the flip side, she possess the discipline to know when to conserve her efforts when the win is secure to protect future goals. A stunning example would be the decision to call off the chase for the Canadian record in Detroit due to poor weather conditions at 10km into the race. This payed dividends a week later in Niagara with her 1:11.45 performance.
What are some of the long term goals that you and Dayna share?
Our goals are quite broad right now as this was really the first full season of competitive racing. We have been looking at a possible marathon debut in the spring, but we will first have to see how the training progresses. I’m fairly certain we both agree that she would need to run <2:29.55 (Canadian Olympic Standard) for the effort to make sense, and if that is possible then we will go ahead as planned. If the training doesn’t point in that direction then we can keep on working the “fast” end of the spectrum.
On the business side, I would like to see Dayna secure a few more sound partnerships and possible support from Athletics Canada so that she is able to pursue running full-time. She currently has a strong partnership with Mizuno Canada. I’m confident we would see an immediate positive effect on her performance if she was able to recover instead of working 35-40 hours per week.
Where can we expect to see Dayna competing next? Is the Canadian Cross Country Championships in the cards?
Next up will actually be Chiba Ekiden in Japan, followed by Canadian XC in Vancouver.
How important is it that Sunday’s Canadian Half Marathon “record” be validated by Athletics Canada? (This interview was conducted Sunday evening when the record was still be reviewed. Since then, Athletics Canada confirmed that the Niagara Falls International Marathon-Half Marathon course did not satisfy IAAF record regulations)
This seems to the the hot topic of the evening (Sunday). Personally, I couldn’t care less if they validate it or not. I know the calibre of runner Dayna is from working with her for the past 16 months and a tip-of-the-hat from people we have never met will not change that. She is a 1:11.45 half-marathon runner and it may turn out that this is not the “Canadian Record”, but it will be interesting to see if this performance garners support from Athletics Canada.
Up until this point the media exposure of Dayna’s success has been relatively underwhelming. I could see how the validation of this record could act as confirmation that her success is not going unnoticed, but I don’t believe we have come close to the pinnacle of her capabilities yet. If it is not ratified the solution is quite simple: we continue to train so that the record will stand under 1:11 by the end of 2012 (on whatever course the governing bodies would like). She is the fastest Canadian female over the half-marathon distance. I know it, she knows it, and anyone who follows running knows it.
We look forward to following Dayna’s future success and anxiously await her marathon debut.
About the Author: Chantelle Wilder is the Senior Editor and Co-Founder of Runners Feed. She also competes for the New Balance Silicon Valley club in the Bay Area of California. When she isn’t running, or editing she can be found enjoying the fruitful wines of nearby Napa Valley while challenging her husband to a game of Bananagrams®.