JENNY SIMPSON FOCUSED ON RAISING THE BAR IN 2015
By Chris Lotsbom, @ChrisLotsbom
(c) 2015 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
BOSTON (06-Feb) — If the year 2015 is anything like 2014, then American Jenny Simpson will be quite happy. The 28-year-old from Boulder, Colo., is here ready to kick off her 2015 racing season, hoping to retain her crown as the #1-ranked 1500m runner in the world. On Saturday, Simpson will race the two-mile at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix.
“I’m in great shape, I’m as fit and as healthy as I’ve ever been this time of year, so I’m really excited about that,” said Simpson, flanked by New Balance teammates Brenda Martinez and Emma Coburn.
In 2014, Simpson won the IAAF Diamond League title for 1500m, clocked a personal best of 3:57.22 (coming within 1/10th of a second of Mary Slaney’s American record), and won the U.S. outdoor national title in the discipline. In addition, she ran 8:29.58 for 3000m, and repeated as NYRR Fifth Avenue Mile Champion.
To build off her 2014 success, Simpson isn’t necessarily going to do more in training. Rather, her and coaches Mark Wetmore and Heather Burroughs have devised a plan to keep workouts similar while focusing on building confidence and staying healthy.
“I think it’s so tempting after you have a successful stretch of races, or a season, I think it’s really tempting to think ‘how much more can I get if I add this or add that.’ I think the more reasonable, smarter, wiser thing to do is to keep doing what you’re doing,” said Simpson. In essence, Simpson isn’t going to mess with a training philosophy that isn’t broken.
Training at altitude in Boulder, Simpson has weathered a cold, snowy winter. Yet the two-time Olympian feels her fitness is on par to where it was twelve months ago. Last year at this meet, Simpson committed one of the biggest blunders of her career, miscounting how many laps remained in the two mile. Had she not kicked a lap early and stopped momentarily, Simpson likely would have broken Regina Jacobs’s American record of 9:23.38; instead she finished second in 9:26.19.
“Last year, yes, I famously made the mistake that you think you’re never ever going to make. So many times I’ve replayed that in my mind and thought I’d never be the person to make such an amateur mistake,” Simpson told the media, a smile growing across her face. “I’ve very much learned from that.”
Chuckling, Simpson later added, “I’m really anxious to get 16 full laps in this time,” putting emphasis on the word ‘full.’
Simpson credits a lot of her successful racing career to Wetmore and Burroughs, who also coached her at the University of Colorado. She has full faith in the pair, giving her comfort going into every race.
“My coaches are the best at that, recognizing where I am in training relative to last year and building on what I’ve done. I think the biggest thing that I’ve gained from last year was confidence and experience, and building year on top of year. That doesn’t change,” she said.
Looking ahead, Simpson admitted she is in a very lucky and unique position. By winning the IAAF Diamond League title in 2014, Simpson automatically qualified for the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing. With her spot on the start line guaranteed, Simpson doesn’t need to worry about chasing qualifying standards or finishing in the top three at the USA Championships. With that in mind, Simpson, Wetmore, and Burroughs have etched out a season-long plan beginning at the World Championships and working backwards.
“Coming into this year, it’s going to be a very similar formula with very, very similar goals in mind and hopefully 2015 will wrap up in a similar way,” she said. “[The year] 2015 is all about putting a star on the World Championships and working back from there. That’s where I’m going to be most fit this season.”
On Saturday Simpson will face off against top Ethiopians Sentayehu Ejigu, Gotytom Gebreslase, and Buze Diriba, as well as Americans Stephanie Garcia and Heather Wilson. While she not be in peak track form just yet, Simpson feels she’s ready to race up front.
“I’m January-level fit,” she admitted, trying to put her fitness in perspective. “I’ve had some really great training… I feel good, I feel fit, but I’m not as good as I’ll be in August.”
Leave a Reply