Adams Heads To NCAA As Texas' Top Ranked
As distance runner Josephine Adams prepares for the NCAA Championships next weekend in Eugene, Ore., we sat down with her and Coach Burroughs to discuss Jo's dramatic improvement from last season.
Adams was the first athlete from a Texas university and ninth overall to cross the finish line in the women’s 1,500-meter run, which is about 100 meters shy of being a mile, at the 2013 NCAA West Preliminary Round last weekend in Austin. Adams broke her school record with a time of 4:15.33, an improvement of 11 seconds from her best time from last season. Her time ranks her as the No. 1 collegiate mile runner in Texas.
Interview with Jo:
Q: How does it feel to go into the NCAA championships as one of the top runners in the 1,500-meter run?
A: Making the NCAA Championships has been my main goal for this season, I put a lot of pressure on myself leading up to the preliminaries so to have made it is a huge relief. I know that I will be racing against the very best in the country next week but I’m confident in my ability to race well in Eugene. I just can’t wait to compete at Hayward Field, Track Town USA!
Q: You've cut 11 seconds off your best time from last season, what has changed to help you improve so much?
A: I have had great consistency in my training this year, week after week of training hard and getting the mileage in has definitely been the key. Last year, I was racing without the training base from fall. It took awhile to adjust to training and to establish new a routine as I had come from different training background. I have focused a lot more on the little things this year, like recovery and nutrition. I have also worked really hard on my core strength. Core work is something in the past that I lacked motivation to do, but I have been a lot more disciplined this year and I feel it has been of great benefit.
Q: How has your mindset changed from last season to now?
A: Last year I stood on start lines with no real goals, unaware of what I was capable of, whereas this season I have been a lot more driven to compete at my best with a lot more confidence in my capabilities. I know that I am fitter and stronger than I have ever been. I still get nervous, but they are nerves that I can control and use to perform at my best.
Q: You own the cross country 5K record, the indoor mile and 3,000 meter records and the outdoor 1,500 meters record. Has breaking those records motivated you to do better this season?
A: The school records have definitely been an added motivator to make me want to compete at my best. The outdoor 1,500 meters record was a mark that when I first started at North Texas I thought would be impressive to break and one that I obviously would love to be mine. To have four school records is an achievement I am definitely proud of.
Interview with Coach Burroughs:
Q: Can you put Jo’s performance of 4:15.33 at the NCAA West Prelims in perspective?
A: It was a fantastic run, to be the top female collegiate mile runner from Texas is an outstanding achievement considering the other universities in the state. Her mark was equivalent to a 4:34 1,600-meter run to people familiar with the high school 1,600-meter run.
Q: What’s it been like to work with Jo over of her improvement at North Texas?
A: When Jo first arrived at North Texas she was a bit set in her ways with how she wanted to train. We would bang heads from time to time. But over the year she learned that I had her best interest in mind and she gained more trust in the changes. As she became more familiar with our training system she began improving dramatically.
Q: Why has she improved so much at North Texas?
A: My background is in human physiology so the focus with my athletes is to continue developing their biochemistry profiles, for example their lactate threshold, vo2 max, lactate tolerance, etc. Every mile Jo runs, every track season she does is recorded and monitored so I know exactly how much volume and stress she is putting on her body. In addition we have multiple trail networks nearby so the majority of her running is done on soft surface.
Q: Any training secrets you’re willing to divulge?
A: Know when to back off, whether mileage or workouts. Some athletes just want to run hard all the time and never rest. However resting is a normal part of the training cycle. If you don’t rest the body from time to time, you don’t recover from the hard training. The key is knowing your athletes well enough to see the signs of when to back the training down.
Adams will return to action next Thursday at 4:30 p.m. (Pacific Time) in the 1,500 meters semifinals at the 2013 NCAA Championships at the Historic Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon.