Hey all, I’m back today with an interview I did recently with kiwi distance running ace; Caden Shields! I have formed a strong friendship with Caden over the years, first meeting him at a couple of races; namely the Gold Coast and Incheon, Korea Half Marathons. Last year we both worked as physiotherapists together for 6 months at SSPC in Parkdale and bonded over our shared passion for running and similar physiotherapy values!
I have wanted to interview Caden for a long time, he has a lot to offer. Not only is he a wealth of running knowledge, he has successfully navigated a few ups and downs of his own running wise, he went to college in the US, he is a Lydiard disciple, he is super passionate about becoming the best physiotherapist he can be, he is intelligent, wise and super caring; it’s no wonder his patient’s love him!
He also has big goals for his upcoming debut marathon!
Anyway, hold your applause, here he is….. Mr Caden Shields!
Caden Shields, do yo you mind giving yourself an intro to the readers?
I am a 30 year old distance runner and physio living in Christchurch, New Zealand. I am a colleague, friend and admirer of Dane.
I have an extensive history in distance running, having run over 100km/week since I was 14.
I have been an NCAA Div 1 collegiate athlete at Purdue University, NCAA finalist, and 2x NZ champion over 10,000m.
Currently I am working at Sports Med in Christchurch alongside an amazing multidisciplinary team and building towards my first marathon.
So, 6 weeks to go!!! Why did you pick Gold Coast marathon for your debut?
It is a IAAF gold label, the Oceania championships, close to home, and a familiar environment. All things that I think can help me achieve my goal.
And…what’s your goal? Do you have a time in mind?
I am hoping for something around 2:14.
Unreal, that’s rolling! So, what made you decide to step up to the marathon?
The marathon has always been my destination in running. It has taken me longer to get here than I thought when I was younger, but I feel mentally and physically ready for the challenge.
Did you watch nick earl at Lake Biwa marathon?
Nick Earl was inspirational at Lake Biwa, he has been a point of reference for me when I was living in Melbourne in 2018, he has given me belief.
How are you going to prepare for the Gold Coast heat?
Another layer of clothing!
Who’s coaching you?
Chris Pilone is my coach. He is a 2.16 marathoner, now professional cyclist/motor home owner/Air BnB mogul. He is famous for coaching Hamish Carter to his Olympic gold medal in triathlon in 2004, speaking his mind, and knowledge of all things involving sport. He is a caring, thoughtful and intelligent man.
Are there many runners in your training group?
I am not sure of all the athletes he coaches, but there is a core group of 4 male distance runners in his stable, including two very promising athletes Oli Chignell and Sam Bremer. Us three are all from Dunedin, so we share a fairly similar outlook on life. We have a great friendship and I think that brings Chris a lot of enjoyment in coaching us.
What’s the name of the club you run for in nz?
I run for the Hill City University club in Dunedin which is essentially the University of Otago club. I have been a member since I was 11. We placed 3 rd in the national road relay last year. We will win this year!
What are you most worried about for your debut marathon?
I am not worried about anything in my debut. I feel as though I am working on all the things I have control over to maximise my performance. Ultimately, I have the cardiovascular fitness to run well, as long as I fuel appropriately and run intelligently I think I will. My main goal is to stay in the moment throughout the race, be able to ride the waves of anxiety and doubt and to stay comfortable whilst being uncomfortable.
What’s a typical week look like!?
A typical training week for me is 720-770 mins of running. I do two long runs. One of 3 hours, one of 2 hours. My recovery days are usually 60, 30 split and I have a very light Friday of just running to and from work which is 45-50 mins total. I do my sessions on a Wednesday morning to allow for recovery before the long run.
Are you a lydiard disciple?
Absolutely. I grew up reading about Lydiard and absorbing his training methods. I inherited several Lydiard books off my grandfather when he died. I used to read them over and over again. My first coach and lifelong mentor Richard Barker educated me on physiology and how the Lydiard method worked from a young age, so I have always been a strong Lydiard advocate. Now that I am older, I also think Lydiard’s skill was not only in periodisation, but also psychology. He installed immense belief into his athletes which allowed them to perform well on the big stage.
You don’t session a lot, you do a lot of jogging tell us about this…
I on average I do one session/week. We count the long run (2.5-3 hours) on a Saturday as the main session for the week. Due to the hilly nature of NZ, up to 75 mins of this run will be 5-10 beats below anaerobic threshold heart rate, so these are tough runs. It takes 2-3 days to recover from this which coincides with Wednesday, which is where I will generally do a steady state aerobic run or specific session.
How will training change in the coming weeks?
Not a lot, we are essentially alternating between critical velocity sessions and steady running at marathon effort at the moment. My core volume will remain the same until 1 week before GC. I am doing Christchurch half marathon this weekend at marathon effort as a key session.
Favourite and best session?
The long run is my passion. I love getting in the mountains and testing myself. The long run brings me so much joy, peace and friendship.
(A typical photo Caden would send me from a daily run!)
Least fav and worst session?
I have never really enjoyed anaerobic work of any kind. I do it because I have too.
Ok, so current PBS ?
What’s your dream hope by the end of the yr? 5yrs? Is Tokyo 2020 on the radar?
I hope to run a world champs qualifier this year. Tokyo is definitely on the radar.
Tell the readers about life in Christchurch?
Christchurch is a beautiful city. It is a city that has suffered a lot with the earthquakes in 2010,2011 and then the attacks in March of this year. However, the people are resilient. I love New Zealand,whenever I have lived overseas, I have always yearned for the mountains, rivers and people.
The running culture in Christchurch is diverse. Christchurch is an extremely active city, the Port hills are loaded with cyclists and runners on the weekend and it is an amazing experience sharing your training with people of all walks of life as you pass one another on the hills. I particularly love passing the cyclists on the uphills!
The club running scene is much smaller than Victoria, but the races still bring out people of all ages and ability. The community is very close and supportive of one another.
Having a track in Christchurch this year following 7 years of no track post earthquake created a great vibe around the running community.
The long runs are what I live for. Beautiful mountains, clear skies, sea views and big climbs! And only a 10 min jog from my house, what more can you ask for!
The Gebbes loop is the loop I do most weekends. It has over 700meters of climbing (I tag on more).
I work at SportsMed Canterbury which is a multidisciplinary sports medicine clinic in Christchurch. It is an amazing place to work. I work alongside some of the best sports medicine physicians in NZ. We have a large practice with 7 sports doctors, 17 physios, chiros, podiatrists and massage therapists. It is a great team, we all support one another and provide a great service to the public of Canterbury.
How many days a week are you working?
I work 7 days/week!
What physio myth do you want to bust?
I like to simplify physio and injury. I like to make things simple to patients so they can grasp important concepts that will keep them injury free. Load management, strengthening and neuromuscular control exercises are much more important than passive modalities and they build resiliency and self confidence. These go a long way in helping people.
Nz champs the other month- tell us about the victory? That surely was sweet?
Winning the NZ 10,000m title was massive for me. For a while I have been frustrated with my performance in races, having always felt I have under performed. I have been working hard lately on building my mental resiliency and building my ability to perform under pressure which I feel showed in my performance in February.
You went to college in the us, what was your experience like? A few young readers would surely like to hear…
College in the US was a mixed experience for me. I performed well academically and athletically while I was there. A big highlight for me was qualifying for the 2009 NCAA XC champs as an individual. I ran a world class race in the regional champs to place 10th which qualified me for the national champs. I suffered some serious injuries and illness in my final year there and left in a poor state of mind. I had a lot of frustration and confusion in the years following my return to NZ as to why I struggled in the USA, mentally and physically.
Having learned more about myself, I realise now I was not quite mentally resilient enough at that age to cope with the demands of a new culture, NCAA sports and the pressure I had on me to perform. I feel the lessons I learned there will help me to become a great marathoner and succeed further in life.
Mate, cheers for being so honest. It’s a great message! Working through and learning from our greatest failures/tough times; is how we grow as people and runners, it’s all part of the process, the journey to self development/improvement.
Mate, as you’d say, that was a ‘fizzer’ (kiwi for ‘ripper’) of an interview, I’m sure you will have won a few Aussie fans today, that can only be a good thing when the going gets tough towards the back end of the Gold Coast Mara! We will ‘put a pin in it’ there as I know you are an incredibly busy man! I’m going to make sure we catch up again post Gold Coast with a race wrap up! Oh and before I go, say ‘Hi’ to Rach for me (Caden’s fiancee).