CAMBRIDGE – Nate Brannen says he felt a little sluggish half way through a race in Hengelo, Netherlands this week. You’d never know it.
Brannen, the 29-year-old former Preston track star, tore across the track in Sunday’s race — scorching a personal best of 3:34.22, and beating the Olympic A standard in the 1,500-metre event by more than a second.
Still, the runner said he ran a conservative race, and was kicking himself that he was feeling slow and conserving his energy at the half-way mark.
The eighth-place win in Hengelo means he’s just one small step away from his second Olympic Games. He needs to place in the top three in his event at the national championships in Calgary at the end of June, a race he won in 2011 and 2009.
Brannen is already looking past nationals, however, and isn’t slowing down his workouts after making the standard time.
“Now it’s 100 per cent on to the Olympics. I’m planning and training as if I’ve already made the team,” he said.
The lone Canadian in Sunday’s race says going to Hengelo was a last-minute decision. He’d been within split-seconds of beating the Olympic standard at several races this season, and was drawn by the high-caliber field registered there.
He’ll spend the next two weeks training in the Scottsdale area of Arizona, where he spends his winters. After that, he’s got a block of races in the U.S. to stay sharp, then another two weeks of high-altitude training in Flagstaff, AZ before the nationals.
Brannen, who said he won’t be satisfied with anything less than making the finals in London this summer, says he feels “great” physically.
“I feel really good. This is probably the fittest I’ve ever felt, health-wise and fitness combined,” he said.