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  • Writer's pictureBetsy

What mortals can learn from an Olympian

In case you missed my Instagram live interview with retired professional runner [Team USA 800 meters (Beijing) and 1500 meters (London)] and current Sports Media Specialist for On Running, Andrew Wheating, here are my notes from what I learned. Andy has a special gift for reaching young athletes and imparting his hard won wisdom on new comers to the sport. Here are a few takeaways:

· Sometimes it takes a while to fall back in love with running. Working with kids helps rekindle a love for sport. Infectious. Working at high school running camps can make you feel young again.

· Recognize when to stop doing what does not work. For Andy, he found himself focusing on chasing a standard and not enjoying the process of racing competitors. Which leads to:

· Focus on winning the race and beating people. Times will come and are secondary outcomes.

· A variety of experiences in sports in childhood can help develop discipline that can translate in classroom.

· Biggest way to improve in high school: running drills! (skips, toe walks, lunges, etc.)

· Coaches: make training and race tactics simple. Running fast is simple, keep it that way

· Athletes: put your complete trust in your coach and just run

· Great coaches are everything. Andy was lucky enough to have his xc coach work at his high school and convinced him to try running. His next mentor was Jeff Johnson (employee #1 at Nike) and just happened to be buddies with Vin Lanana, one of the most successful NCAA coaches in history and coach at University of Oregon at the time, who coached Andy in college and lastly, Mark Rowland, a British Steeplechase (Bronze medallist) Olympian was Andy’s coach when he was a member of the Oregon Track Club Elite.

· You don’t need to be a highly recruited athlete to be successful. Andy received approximately $200 in books as his initial scholarship for Oregon.

· Smaller brands can excel during tough times. Being lean as a business operation can help you pivot. Taking calculated risks can pay big dividends. On Running is relatively new in the running space, but they have budgeted their cash flow so well that even during this challenging economic time, On is making moves to sponsor runners and the running community.

· You don’t need an “ideal runner” body to run fast. Andy is 6’6” and his racing weight was 180-185 lbs. He has run 1:44.56 for 800 meters and 3:30.90 for 1500.

· Mixing up shoes helps keep you feel fresh and injury free. Andy enjoys training in the CloudStratus (cushioning and supportive and a bit bulkier) and doing faster workouts in the CloudX (much lighter and flexible). Training in a bulkier shoe and then transitioning to a lighter shoe makes you feel very fast.

· Work on your network so that you will always have options for employment. His position at On Running came from an introduction from a former Oregon teammate (shout out to Nicole Blood-Freitag!)

· When given an opportunity – take it!

Thanks again for chatting with us, Andy and thanks for the great work you and On Running are doing for the running community! Follow Andy on instagram at @andrewwheating!

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