This is a fun interview with Emily Lipari, done by Jeff Benjamin. Jeff has sent his nine question to Emily and she answered them as she had time between races.
Emily Lipari – Flyin’ Under The Radar!
By Jeff Benjamin
Emily Lipari has had a progressively successful season so far. After admitting that she wasn’t off to a great start, the former Villanova Star has competed quite well overseas and has recently won races in Belgium and then, dramatically coming from behind to outkick the field at the Morton Games in Dublin, Ireland, clocking a time of 4:08.01. The 1500 meter specialist, who competes under Coach Terrence Mahon and is sponsored by Adidas, has also lowered her 800 meter time to 2:03!
Here are 9 quick questions which this writer forwarded to Emily;
RunBlogRun, 1) How did you get into the Sport?
Emily Lipari: When I was in elementary school I was part of a CYO track team, but it was only relays. I enjoyed just being part of a team and seeing how much candy we could all throw down before we went to the start line. I was always on the 4×100 and sometimes the 4×200 except I was only allowed to lead off because I was TERRIBLE at receiving the baton, I actually couldn’t do it at all. When I started to take sports more seriously I actually joined my cross country team in 8th grade to stay in shape for soccer! I was always a big soccer player and was actually looking at colleges that were going to allow to me do both. Although I miss soccer, I eventually landed on just focusing on track and I’m really happy I did!
RunBlogRun, 2) Did you consider yourself a slow or fast developer?
Emily Lipari: It really depends on the level you’re trying to develop to. When I was in high school I caught on to the track world pretty quickly and won my first state championship my freshmen year. When I went off to college it probably took me about two years to adjust to the program before I started running constantly. Then as a pro it took be about 3-4 years and I still have a lot more to learn! Each level you enter has its own challenges, but I have remained healthy which is key and that has allowed me to continue to develop into the athlete I am today.
RunBlogRun, 3) Most memorable HS Race?
Emily Lipari: My most memorable HS race would probably be when I won my first state championship as a freshmen in the 3000m. I was the last seed and I had the slowest time by about 30 seconds. I honestly had no idea what I was doing and I tripped going into the last lap as I was falling off the pack. I was so embarrassed that I actually started to speed up and caught up to the lead group and ended up winning the race. My whole family was there too and my mom was so excited that she accidentally broke her glasses when she was cheering me on.
RunBlogRun, 4) Most memorable College Race?
Emily Lipari: My most memorable race from college is hard to pin. In my mind I always have two, one is my individual NCAA mile win and the other is team orientated when we won Penn relays! My 2014 NCAA win was super special because it was my only individual NCAA title and it was at altitude in New Mexico. I had never run at altitude before, so I didn’t know how I was going fair. My family came out to this one and my brother surprised me so when I saw him in the stands I cried because I wanted him to be there, but he told me wasn’t able to make it. My other favorite memory is when our team at Villanova won the 4×800 at Penn relays in 2013. We hadn’t fielded a 4×8 team in years and we certainly weren’t pegged to win it. That year was stacked with a bunch of team with stellar 800m runners. Our girls just had a perfect day and everyone ran their hearts out and we just barely came away with the win over Oregon. That is also where I split 2:02!
RunBlogRun, 5) How’s it different being a pro athlete from HS Collegiate?
Emily Lipari: Being a pro athlete from a HS athlete is a massive difference. There are a long list of things that make being a pro different: weights, nutrition, altitude stints, frequency of racing, teammates to train with. I’m glad as a HS kid I just enjoyed HS and didn’t make it anything crazier than what it was. As a pro, you race a lot less so you are expected to be able hit it right out of the gates because there are just not nearly as many opportunities to race as there were in high school. In HS, there were races that I would consider easy, but now every race you line up for is like the caliber of a state meet or better. Every time you line up you’re facing people who have probably run faster then you. It’s a great challenge because it continually raises to bar to push American women to improve.
RunBlogRun, 6) What factors have led to your continual improvement, especially this season overseas on the track?
Emily Lipari: This year was a combination of physical fitness and my mentality. Being four years in the same program under Terrence has been great. I could notice the physical changes with my body, I could lift more, run further and faster. I have remained healthy and just building on fitness year after year had my body ready to handle the work load. When I first joined the team out of school I would struggle to make it through a full training block, but now I can hit the last workout of the block really well (which tends to be the hardest one). On the mental side, this year for me was learning that regardless of how fit you are its still going to hurt the same. I was falling into the mindset that just because I was fit I expected it to feel easy and it wasn’t. After you wrap your head around embracing the hurt then you can trust that your fitness can bring you to that finish line. This season wasn’t perfect so I still have work to do. The feeling of being unsatisfied and wanting to be better is what continues to fuel my fire. I just keep finding ways to try to make myself better because at this level the little things do count.
RunBlogRun, 7) What Training philosophy are you following, who are your coaches & training partners, & what are the plans for the rest of the season- will you be at the 5th Ave Mile?
Emily Lipari: Since graduating college in 2014 I have been training under Terrence Mahon. My first few years out I was with the BAA and I loved my time there. They provided a great environment for success. At the end of 2017 I left Boston to move out west and remained being coached by Terrence because I strongly believe in his program and enjoy working with him. The teammates I had in Boston will remain my life long friends. I spent my last four years developing with Sarah Pagano, Elaina Balouris and Katie Matthews who were mostly 5k/10k women. Jen Rhines would kick our buts in workouts when we first came out and she was about 39. We all came out of school at the same time and we all had a ton of work to do. So as we continued to improve we all did so together and were building off of each other’s positive energy. I was fortunate my first two years out of school to have Morgan Uceny and Anna Willard as my middle distance training partners. I learned a lot from them and getting dropped in workouts was the best thing for me because I knew what needed to be done to get to the next level. They were great mentors and with their influence those first couple years drove me to improve and not let the bad races get you down. I look back at having three Olympians to learn from and it was a special environment that helped shaped my approach to races and workouts. After they retired I did most of my 1500m specific workouts solo, unless Terrence hopped in to pace (which happens a lot!). It was great to train with the distance girls because my endurance certainly needed some work so through most of the year (until about march or April) I would do all my workouts with them. Now with Terrence’s new crew in San Diego, I hop in with Lynsey Sharp when its time to do some 800 stuff and I’m excited to be adding Nikki Hiltz and Therese Haiss to the squad for some 1500 company!
RunBlogRun, 8) Do you incorporate any cross training and/or Weight training?
Emily Lipari: I do have a weight routine that Terrence writes! We typically lift about twice a week and depending on the time of year, will depend on how heavy we go. It’s not just lifting either, we have dynamic exercises and some jump circuits. I have been fortunate enough to not have to do any cross training. My body is durable so it is able to handle the higher mileage and intensity without having to add in any cross training.
Right now my summer plans are to run a few more of the fun miles in August and September! My next one will be the West Chester mile in PA then off to Cleveland for a road mile. I’ll close out August with the Memphis mile! Then of course since I’m a NYer at heart I’ll have to come back for the Long Island mile and hopefully Fifth Avenue, then close out the year there!
RunBlogRun, 9) What advice can you give to young Runners??
Emily Lipari: My advice to the younger generation is to always have fun with running! If it’s not fun then you wont enjoy showing up every day and then it becomes a chore (chores are never fun or exciting!). There will be times that it will be incredibly frustrating, but it’s important to just take a deep breath and look at your success’s and not harp on the failures. Because life in general will have failures and if you learn to deal with them in a positive way then you will end up with success. It is always important to surround yourself with positivity as well! Find yourself people who lift you up and want you to succeed as much as you want yourself to and then return the favor to them and lift them up!