Olivier Collin is a middle-distance runner from Saint-Lazare, Quebec who has shown tremendous range during the past few years. After winning the Canadian Junior National Cross Country Championships in December 2008, Olivier has lit up the track this summer with personal bests of 1:46 over 800m and 3:38 over 1500m. The Quebec native has signed a national letter of intent to compete next season at Fresno State in California. Tnfnorth caught up with the middle-distance sensation last week.
TNF- What were your expectations coming into this season?
Collin- After my winter season, going 4-flat in the mile, I knew it would be possible to run even faster during this outdoor season. I didn’t know exactly how fast but I was hoping to run sub 1:48 and sub 3:40. Honestly, I just wanted to go as fast as possible to have an idea of where I would stand in the NCAA.
TNF- How is your training this season compared to last season?
Collin- I have to say the big difference is that I am training this year. I spent the whole summer training in the pool due to a weird knee injury. It kept me fit for the summer racing, but I couldn’t get that extra gear. This year I’ve been lucky enough to stay healthy and have a solid year of training. I had no major laybacks so I have to be happy about that. I was also able to get some altitude training for the first time and have some great partners to train with.
Collin outkicked Mohammed Ahmed in an epic finish to the 2008 Canadian Junior Cross Country Championships at University of Guelph (Photo: Athletisme-Quebec)
TNF- What kind of sessions have you done recently?
Collin- I’ve spent the last month in Europe so I've been training hard to prep for these races. Training went great, running mostly fast reps, going faster than race pace. I did a lot of fast 500s and 400s.
TNF- What kind of sessions were you doing in January and early spring?
Collin- The goal this season was to make me stronger over 1500m. I’ve increased my mileage quite a bit and went for longer intervals throughout the winter season.
TNF- What are your goals the rest of the season?
Collin- I have two more important dates on my calendar and they are July 10th and July 28th, NACAC and Nationals. I just want to get out there and compete. Obviously I am aiming for the podium in both events so the next month will be some fine tuning to prepare for these two meets in order have the best possible result.
TNF- Please describe how the 800m race went in Belgium from start to finish?
Collin- The race went exactly as planned. The rabbit took us through 400m in a 51 low. I was second when the rabbit stepped off and made a move with 300m to go. The leader was slowing so I passed him from the outside. I was there to run fast so I took the lead and kicked with 200 to go. I was feeling great and the weather was absolutely amazing so there was no reason not to run fast.
TNF- It is rare for someone at the 800m level to also be a cross country national champion. To what do you attribute that range?
Collin- I don't know exactly what can explain this, but I know I love the cross-country season and enjoy competing in a different atmosphere than track. I just love to get out there and enjoy myself. I work hard during cross season to get the best base possible for the long months of track ahead. So I guess the hard work paid off that year.
TNF- What are your long-term goals in the sport and how do you plan to get there?
Collin- Obviously the dream is to represent Canada at Worlds and the Olympics, but there are many hurdles before getting there. I will have to talk with my coach after this season is over to plan this next couple of year’s right.