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An interview with Katie Mackey, 4:03 1500M runner!

Happy happy Thursday everyone (well now that it is finally Thursday, I could have sworn it was yesterday morning after my long run… hahah). I am currently sitting in the Austin airport getting ready for an adventure back to WI for the weekend, and wanted to share an awesome interview I got to do with Katie Mackey, who currently holds a PR of 4:03 in the 1500m. I know, insane! Anyways, love her advice about running — it’s so helpful for ALL runners, whether you just got started or if you’ve been doing it for a lot of years.

I am so excited because in July, I am traveling with Brooks Running to check out the U.S. Olympic Track Trials before Rio! It is going to be an amazing adventure and I can’t wait to see these speedsters, including Katie, in action.

Craig Fritz

So, here you go… Katie Mackey!

What do you love about running?

No matter whether I’m chomping at the bit or feeling sluggish and tired, I never regret getting out the door for a run. And simply “going for a run” can be such a different experience day in and day out. Sometimes it’s peaceful and quiets my mind, and sometimes it’s filled with energy and laughter from training partners. Sometimes it’s so painful and I can’t wait be done, some days I feel like I could run forever. Things usually don’t go the way I think they will; it’s not predictable and it’s never boring.

What’s your favorite distance to run and why?

I love long runs. If you asked me this question 5 years ago, that would NOT have been my answer though! I feel such a sense of accomplishment afterwards because it has taken me so long to build up the strength to go out and run for 2 hours and feel good doing it. I also love the camaraderie and conversations that come about organically from having uninterrupted time without distractions.

When it comes to those tough runs, how do you stay motivated? What pushes you through?

When it hurts, I just remember all the times I haven’t been able to run and how grateful I am to be out there healthy! Also, my teammates are a huge motivation. They make the day-to-day training fun, and we are all each other’s cheerleaders. Last week the 800m girls came to cheer for us in our hard workout on their day off, and we cheered for them in theirs the next day. It’s a huge advantage!

On your website you mention you’ve been through a lot of injuries and setbacks… any advice you’d share with others going through something similar?

I would say managing the highs and lows is about perspective. When you’re going through the rough times, it’s easy to focus on the negative “here and now” and really hard to take a step back and look at the big picture. It’s kind of like a puzzle. It doesn’t make sense until it is all completed, so focusing on the piece directly in front of you might be discouraging until you zoom out and look at how the puzzle is coming together as a whole. Remind yourself that you need these experiences to learn and come back smarter and stronger than you were before.

What’s the one thing you wish you knew five years ago?

I wish I knew how to listen to my body the way I do now, instead of learning the hard way! If something hurts, taking one day off now might save you two, three weeks or even more time off if the injury turns into something serious down the road. The training plan is a living breathing document and should be adjusted to take how you feel into account for it to be most effective!

What running gear can you not live without?

My Ghosts. I love them.

What advice do you have for those who are just starting to run?

Keep it fun!

Fellow cat lover here, so I have to ask about cats… Any that are part of your family right now? Details!

My cat Pico de Gallo can do tricks on command, sit and stand on his hind legs, and is definitely the best athlete in the house! He has made some amazing leaps to catch flies and spiders in our house and I’m just in awe of him. Sometimes before a run we’ll have like 20 people in our living room and he likes to be right in the center soaking it all up, I think he thinks the team comes by just to see him.

Thanks, Katie!

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