It's Pronounced LauREN - An Interview

(Photo provided by Lauren Peterson)

Tell us about your background in sports.

In fifth grade is when I began to run with my dad because I decided to do youth track. My favorite events in youth track were the longer races (400, 800, 1600). Sixth grade was my first year of middle school cross country and from there I ran high school track and cross country starting in seventh grade. When I was little I used to swim, dance and play soccer but once I started running in middle school I realized I loved running and that I didn't want to do anything else.

Personal Bests:

400: 62

800: 2:16

1500: 4:39

1600: 4:52

3200: 11:00

4K XC: 14:19

5k XC: 17:20

Who are your main coaches?

I have had a ton of coaches who have made a big impact on me. Adam Lippold is behind all of the workouts and training my team and I do. He has always been concerned about my career and overall well being and not just one race, same goes for my teammates. Adam was the one that took me from crutches and a boot to placing 3rd in the 1600m at the state meet last year.

Lisa Lippold although she is the boys cross country coach, has always been there for me mentally and helped me be able to run with the boys. Amanda Schilling has helped me stay motivated during tough times and when I'm nervous for a race she will always try to distract/ cheer me up.

Tom Hart has also helped me stay motivated and has given me a lot of advice with college recruiting. He also suggested to me to get my iron levels checked during cross country when I wasn't doing well which helped me to fix the problem and finish the cross country season strong. I also got great advice about how to race and more from Justin Hyytinen who now is at the Naval Academy. During Track my  teammate Anna Fenske and I will train with the boys, on easier days we will run with the girls.

You won the Gatorade Cross Country Award because of your academics, athletics and volunteer work.  How will this help you in the future?

It was an honor to earn the Gatorade Cross Country Award because it showed me that my hard work does pay off. Jordan Hasay's Marathon debut was pretty insane and for me to be in company with some big names like her makes me motivated to keep working hard. One of my big goals for this track season is to win a state title. In cross country I want to go back to NXN and Footlocker and try and place better than what I did last year. Another goal is of mine is to get into a good college/university that will help me become the best I can be in running.

(Photo provided by Lauren Peterson)

What is your general race strategy and how did you develop it?

When I was younger I would go out way too hard in races and either have a really good race or crash and burn. As I've gotten older my coach has taught me it's okay to sit back a little at the beginning of races so at the end of my races I could finish stronger. My advice to a beginning runner would be not to worry about a 10-20 meter gap at the beginning of the race because you never know what can happen and you can always close the gap.

Do you have a warm up routine?

I usually warm up 45 minutes before my race. To start my teammates and I put our legs up for 5-10 minutes next we go on a 10-15 minute run depending on the weather. When we get back we grab our spikes and head to the infield to do dynamic stretching. I listen to music before and focus on the race in 3 parts, dividing up differently depending on which race it is.

What is your mental training?

To prepare for races I make sure I'm eating good food that will give me the nutrients and energy I need to run at my best. Mentally I don't worry to much about the competition and try to focus about what I can run in the upcoming race or races. I talk to my coach about a race plan and we usually come up with a couple of different plans so I can go into the race prepared. My dad sends me quotes/sayings so usually on race day I will remember some of them throughout my race.

What has helped you improve the most in your training?

Some runs that have helped me are long runs almost every weekend because it gives my body time to recover from the hard workouts me and my teammates do during the week. One of my favorite workouts that I feel makes me mentally tough are repeat 1000s. I also do a lot of biking which is a nice break from all the pounding we do as runners. For gym classes at my school we have many options on what to take and one class is a weight lifting class. I usually try to take it one trimester because it has had a big impact on my running.

(Photo provided by Lauren Peterson, 2013)

What have you learned from being injured?

Being injured freshman year was very hard but was a great lesson. I had several stress fractures in my left foot. It was a great learning experience because it taught me to listen to my body when something is sore/hurting and that it's important to take time off between cross country and track. I also realized how much I loved running and that I would do anything to get back to where I was. In fact my first race back was the 1600m, my coach wanted me to take it easy, I tried to but I got so excited that I ended up having a really good race and crossed the finish with a huge smile on my face.

To get back I had to stay mentally tough and I had to do ALOT of biking and lifting weights so I could stay in the best shape possible. When I finally began to run again in the middle of April last spring I realized how much stronger my body felt, and mentally I felt prepared to finish the track season as best as I could. My injury made me mentally tougher and has made me into the runner I am today.

How will you avoid future injury?

I got my stress fracture because I was running too much and the tongue of my shoe was rubbing wrong against my foot causing me pain which led me to land different when I was running. To avoid this from happening again I got fitted for some running shoes that would work for my feet. I also am eating healthier to give my body the nutrients it needs. I plan on taking breaks from running between seasons so my body can heal properly.

Coach Tom Hart told us that you are very competitive.  Is that true?

I am very competitive because I like to be the best I can be. I like to challenge myself and work hard to achieve some tough goals. I feel lucky to train with the boys and Anna because without them I wouldn't be able to be as competitive as I am. I also really like to win!