Alumni Focus: Acer Iverson

Alumni Focus: Acer Iverson

Acer Iverson is a 2019 graduate of Roseville Area High School. He now runs as a freshman at Harvard University. Here are some of his career highlights:


o  High School PRs: 800m (2:00.41), 1600m (4:15.81), 3200m (9:12.5) and 5000m (15:04.1)

o  Class AA State XC Champion (2018)

o  2nd place Class AA State XC (2017)

o  Section 4AA 3200m 1st place (2018, 2019)

o  Section 4AA 1600m 1st place (2018)



Discuss the transition from high school competition to competing at the college level. What adjustments have you had to make in order to be as successful as possible?


My mileage and intensity increased dramatically as soon as I arrived on campus. The first adjustment I had to make was transitioning from one coach to another. It really took a while before I felt comfortable with the new training philosophy. The best advice I can give to make that transition as quick as possible is to really buy in to whatever training you are given.

A second adjustment was getting used to taking advantage of the resources of a Division I college program. Some of the resources I regret not utilizing to their fullest potential even earlier are as follows.

1. Training staff specialized in health for runners

2. Frequent individual meetings with my coach

3. Large, well staff weight room

4. Physiotherapist sessions


 Tell us about your training regimen by giving a general overview of what goes into getting prepared for your next big event.

 We start with a pretty basic base building phase through summer/winter break. After that, we enter a phase of increased intensity, usually the hardest block of the season. Later in the season, we slightly reduce mileage and target important competitions. Finally, we go into championship season with another reduction in mileage and a focus on sharpening through workouts. Currently we are in a slightly different phase than usual. The goal right now is to complete a full outdoor cycle for the physiological practice, but some of us are focusing on increasing mileage while slightly reducing intensity since competitions are unlikely to happen for at least several months.

What athletic-based goals do you hope to accomplish during this upcoming year?

First and foremost, I am hoping to contribute to Harvard's legacy by helping bring us to XC Nationals, with the goal of placing even higher than last fall.

Individually, I am eager to get on to the track next spring to finally race the 5k and 10k.

How has your training and schedule changed because of the current pandemic?

I miss training with my teammates very much, so the change to individual training is tough but we are staying on top of things. We have been using the allotted online meeting time granted by the NCAA to keep up to date as a team with coach, staying active in our group chats, and making plans for our return next fall.

Training-wise, I have been using the time to increase my mileage higher than we would've if I was balancing competition. We have agreed that we can sacrifice some of the usual workout intensity as a trade-off. Towards the end of this cycle, I will be keeping my eyes open for opportunities to have some sort of test, however that may just have to be an individual time-trial.


Do you have any advice that you can offer an incoming freshman on how to best deal with the higher level of competition they'll encounter at the college level? Also, what tips can you provide regarding the balance between training commitments and academic demands?

I believe the simpler you can make things, the better off you will be. A lot of runners fall into the habit of looking for shortcuts or special tricks to run faster, but it's really just down to training hard and for a long time. Trust in your coach and get the work done.

Time management is going to be crucial. Expect to be in practice for the full 20 hours allowed per week. Wait until you've been at it for a while before you decide which other clubs, extra classes, or employment responsibilities you can handle. The first thing that starts to slip is sleep, but that is the most important thing to stay on top of.