The exciting rookie pro discusses her new priorities at a press conference announcing her shoe sponsor.
Written by: Matt McCue
Jenny Barringer once told me how she balanced the three acts of college life: academics, athletics, and social. “You can’t master all three,” she said. “To be good at two or excellent at one you must make sacrifices. I decided early on to really focus on running and school. I still have a social life, but when something has to give, it’s never training and it’s hardly ever the books.”
Today, the 2008 Olympian in the 3,000-meter steeplechase can focus her energy solely on running. New Balance has signed the University of Colorado graduate to a multi-year endorsement contract. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Barringer holds the American record in the steeplechase as well as six collegiate indoor and outdoor track and field records in distances ranging from 1,500 to 5,000 meters. She has raw, untapped 800-meter speed and a wiry frame that hints at her marathon potential in the future. Her best event is anyone’s guess at this point.
Barringer is embracing the freedom to compete on her own calendar rather than the NCAA’s intense nine-month cycle. “Rather than running one race every two weeks like in college, I’ll be more selective about when I race,” she explained at a press conference announcing her partnership with New Balance held January 22 in Manhattan. “I’ll take a five-month buildup to my track season this year.” Keeping much of her routine the same, she’ll stay in Boulder, train on familiar trails, and continue to seek the advice of her college coach, Coach Wetmore.
However, the nuts and bolts will change slightly. Her first order of business? “Definitely an afternoon nap,” says Barringer, who cites the ability to mindlessly recover rather than study as one of the best benefits to being a professional runner. “I have both a macro and micro training plan,” she says, “focused on this season and the rest of my career.” Racking up the miles on the mountainous dirt roads figures heavily into it, but she’s looking for gold in the details. “When you get to a certain level”—her level—“you have to focus on the little things to make you better. I call them the ‘one percents’ and I’ll focus better on stretching, physio, and strengthening.”
Her Olympic and international experience has already given her the chance to compete against the world’s best. “I’m a little big ahead of the curve because I’ve been in Europe over the last three summers,” she says. “I’ve been able to see how others (professional runners) handle the stress, the coaching, and the agents. I’ve gotten a little bit of ‘this works for one person and this works for someone else.’”
New Balance’s most acclaimed new athlete acquisition in recent memory, the 23-year-old Barringer, sporting a pair ruby-red New Balance’s, will be the face of the brand and an active part of their Girls on the RunÒ organization.
“Authenticity, integrity—the things New Balance says they stand for are not a unifying thread in the company, but the very fabric by which they do their operations and treat their athletes,” says Barringer. “I felt drawn to that. It’s something that’s real and I’m excited to be a part of.”
Matt McCue is the author of An Honorable Run, a memoir about his experiences as a runner at the University of Colorado.