Into The Spotlight: Exclusive Interview With Morgan Uceny

Between the 800 and 1500, which distance are you most comfortable racing right now?

I honestly can’t choose between the two. I haven’t done many 800s this year. I do miss that a lot. Racing the 800 in Italy was like a little treat. It was a lot of fun and I came to realize how much I miss running them. For the 800, you have to be on your game the whole race. There is no time for mistakes. For the 1500m, you can kind of relax a little more. They are very different and I enjoy doing both.

You’ve been winning your races lately with the same strategy, which is dropping the hammer with about 150 meters to go. You had previously mentioned you’d been working with Terrence on surging in training. So is this a deliberate strategy?

This summer Uceny has been mixing it up with the best middle-distance runners in the world--and winning! Photo: PhotoRun.net

Yeah, because in the 1500m, in previous years, I had made the mistake of making a kind of half move with 200-250 [meters] to go and then having my wheels fall off in the last 100. This year, it’s been all about hitting the gear, but still having something for the last 50 meters so that if someone came up on me, I’d be able to respond. That’s definitely been something we’ve been working on a lot this year.

As a middle-distance runner, you have a muscular build. How much training time are you dedicating to lifting weights?

Every day. Actually, our whole group is all on the same lifting program. Even the 10K runners are lifting every day. Intensity and weights vary, but we are all in the gym at least six days a week.

Do you have a strength coach?

We do some consulting. We have a few people that we can consult with when we need to.

When you race, you tend to wear a colorful necklace. Is that a good luck charm? What is the symbolism behind it?

[She laughs.] I don’t have a good story for that. I’ve always worn something. When I was in junior high, I would wear Mardi Gras beads to school every day. This is the one necklace that wasn’t too over the top and yet still brightened things up. It makes you relax a little more. It makes you not take yourself too seriously. I’m definitely not a superstitious person. I had forgotten to wear it a few times and raced fine. I just like to wear it; it makes my outfit look nice, too. When I first started running, I was more noticed as the girl with the plastic necklace. People didn’t really know my name. So it worked for that, too.

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