Into The Spotlight: Exclusive Interview With Morgan Uceny

Competitor.com: You’ve been having a phenomenal season. Are you surprised at all by how well you’ve been racing?

Morgan Uceny: Kind of. I’m not surprised so much about my performance as I’ve been surprised about my placing in races. It’s not that I’ve been running fast. I’ve just been winning races, which gets you more recognition. I think it’s kind of an odd year. There are a lot of people who have been injured or haven’t been performing as well. I’ve been positioned to take advantage of that. Obviously, I’m only in control of myself. I’m doing the best I can with what’s out there.

[InlineVideoPlayer float="right" videoid="1023864261001" caption="Post-race interview with Morgan Uceny at the 2011 USA Track & Field Championships. "]Other than the fact that key runners aren’t in some races or aren’t performing as well and you attribute some of that to your success, is there anything else in your training or your racing strategy that has paid off and led to your victories?

My training has changed a little bit. Every year since college I’ve been adding mileage and getting stronger. I think it’s an accumulation of things. More specifically in practice, Terrence and I have been focusing on closing well. So actually in practice, I’ll do a repeat. We vary what it is—whether it’s the last 200 [meters], 250, 100, or 150, I’ll make a quick push for the finish. We’ve been working on surging at different points to mimic a race and how it could go there.

Your coach, Terrence Mahon, is known for coaching marathoners. You had mentioned that your mileage has been increasing. Is there anything that Terrence is doing with you, like really long runs or high mileage that seems strange to you?

I don’t think so. I believe 800m people are either sprinter 800 [runners] or distance 800 [runners]. I think I’m probably more on the distance side, but my longest run has only been 13 miles, which I don’t think is that crazy. It’s more doing afternoon runs and the intensity that comes along with the training. Terrence and I were actually joking the other day. He was saying, “Why does everyone think I’m just a marathon coach?” He’s trained Anna [Pierce] two years ago and she had an outstanding season. So I’m going to give him credit for being a good middle-distance coach. He also actually helps a lot with our sprints. He’s really knowledgeable there, too.

You had mentioned the 13-mile long run. What kind of weekly mileage are you logging?

In the fall, a high week would be 75 [miles] and a low week would be 65. I’d have a day off every two weeks. But now that it’s racing season, like the week that I ran two races, I only ran like 35 miles. Racing a lot changes things.

You’ve been racing a lot this season. Do you feel like these races have been making you stronger? Are they building on one another?

Yes—especially since a lot of the races I had been doing hadn’t been that fast. It definitely doesn’t take that much out of you. I’ve always been the type of person where the more I race; the better I do—especially when I can mix 800s and 1500s. Obviously, running my 800 in Italy was a PR, so I felt a little more tired than normal going into Monaco just because they were a lot faster than I had run previously. I like to race a lot; it breaks up training. It’s just more fun.

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