Blake Boldon is currently training in Colorado Springs, CO and racing professionally across the country. Recently, he joined The Run S.M.A.R.T. Project Coaching Staff bringing a broad range of coaching and personal experience to the table. We got a chance the other day to ask him a few questions and gain some insight as to how he juggles both roles.
Run SMART: Two weeks ago you finished 6th in the 3k at the U.S. Indoor Championships up in Boston, MA. What was your approach mentally going in and were you satisfied with the result? Also, how does this race fit into your gameplan for the year?
Blake Boldon: It was my first 3k since last year’s championships and it was my first time on a 200 meter track since that race too. Going in I knew that I wasn’t as race sharp as some other guys might be but I’ve put in a huge block of quality training and I know my fitness is good. Two years ago I was 4th in the same race so I wanted to improve on that finish and be in the top 3 but placing isn’t something that you can always control. I probably should have done some more mental preparation to visualize myself finishing at the top of the field because in looking back I don’t feel I finished 6th as a result of fitness. Instead, I feel like with better tactics I could have been in the mix. Although I’m not happy with the finish, I’m not disappointed either. It was my first race at this distance in a long time and it’s a good indicator of my fitness and preparation for the outdoor season. Right now I’m going to focus on training for 3 to 4 weeks and really prepare for a couple of big races on the track in April and May. All in all, I’m right where I want to be.
Run SMART: You just moved out toand are now working with a new coach. How has your training changed from the past and what part of your new system do you like best?
Blake Boldon: There aren’t a lot of dramatic changes but Coach Simmons has simplified my workouts. Last year I was doing a lot of effort based runs and fartleks but now I aim to quantify everything in terms of mileage and pace. There isn’t a magical formula but the entire system is science based, straight-forward and directly related to the race goals that we have set for the season. What I like best about the training is that the workouts are hard and I feel the race in the workout. For a few years I trained hard and ran a lot of mileage but the plan was lacking the hard workouts to physically and mentally prepare me for the effort of racing. After a couple of the hard sessions I’ve done under Coach Simmons, I know that I will never have to hurt that much to race well so the benefit is far more than physiological.
Run SMART: You recently joined the Run S.M.A.R.T. Project bringing a pretty nice mix of coaching experience to the table, working privately with runners and coaching on the high school and university level. Generally, what’s your guiding philosophy when approaching an athlete and what misconceptions or mistakes do you find most common when working with runners?
Blake Boldon: The guiding principle behind my training philosophy is the importance of individualization. Every single athlete is different in so many ways that it’s hard to know where to start. From the variances in adaptability to the differences in life stresses, we each face an individual journey in the sport. That’s what makes it so important to take the athlete’s daily progress into account when developing training. I think the most common misconception that runners have is that there is some magical, secret to success. The only “secret” to training is taught in every introductory physiology class and most health classes – the SAID principle. It’s an acronym for Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands and basically means that your training has to be tailored reach your specific goals and meet your individual needs. That’s part of the reason that I’m so excited about the Run S.M.A.R.T. Project. Rather than selling generic pre-fabricated plans, the coaches here work to know each client and go on the journey together. The most common mistake that runners make is running too much. I agree that in many cases, the more you run, the fitter you will be but that is a gross over simplification. It’s important to run a volume that you can handle and realize that the balance of quantity, quality and recovery is frequently the determining factor, not just weekly mileage.
Interview conducted by Run S.M.A.R.T. Founder, Brian Rosetti