Heather Kampf, one of the US finest milers, and USATF road mile champ, answered 9 questions from Jeff Benjamin, prior to visiting the 2019 Toyota USATF Indoor Champs on Staten Island this weekend.
RunBlogRun, # 1. How did you get into the Sport?
Heather Kampf: I originally thought I was a gymnast (I had done it 3rd grade to senior year of high school), but during my freshman season my coach had us do sprinting races through the basement of the high school. He was pretty fast so he liked to give the girls a head start and then chase them down. I, however, was the first girl on the team who could give him a head start and still catch him. He suggested I try track, which turned out to be a fitting place for my competitive spirit!
RunBlogRun, # 2. Did you consider yourself a fast or slow developer?
Heather Kampf: In high school and even into college I’d say I developed fast. I made it to state my first year out in two events, and never really “struggled” to become great at the sport early on. Then, I went from being a state champ in the 800m (time was 2:10.42 as a senior), to all of a sudden running 2:04 in my first really big collegiate race, and 2:01 by the end of my sophomore year. Since then, however, I’ve been a little slower to reach new “bests” but as I’ve moved into the longer distances of the mile and 3K, I’ve found I can make bigger improvements there as keep working to get stronger.
RunBlogRun, # 3. Most Memorable high school race?
Heather Kampf: Honestly, the thing that sticks out to me most was kind of a sad one. I was racing the regional meet in the 400m (aiming to make it to a state to defend my title from the year prior), but I had never been a block-starter in the 4. I bobbled on the start line and they called it a false start so suddenly I was disqualified from my best event. It was pretty devastating so that’s probably why it sticks out in my memory, but the good news was I had more recovery time for my 800 that year and improved a lot in that event since I wasn’t tripling up (usually did the 4×200, 400, and 800 at the state meet).
RunBlogRun, #4. Most Memorable college race?
Heather Kampf: I’m sure you’ve seen the video of my crazy fall at the Big Ten 600m finals of 2008. That one sticks out because it proved me that all things are truly possible, and also how small choices can have a big impact on the rest of your life. I have gotten to meet so many people and speak all over the country thanks to that video, I really love having the opportunity to inspire and share my story with others so it’s been a huge blessing.
RunBlogRun, #5. How is it different being a Pro Athlete?
Heather Kampf: Probably the biggest difference is just not having the “team” feel and emphasis. Everything becomes very internally focused- in a way that I was uncomfortable with at first, but have grown to appreciate being able to train/recover just exactly as I feel I need to be successful. Certainly, the competition gets better, the pressure feels higher, but you can also make pretty incredible bonds of friendship with other pro’s because they’re the people you travel and compete with all the time, and they have such similar experiences with you.
RunBlogRun, #6. Do you follow a Training Philosophy?
Heather Kampf: Humm, I don’t know how to define it per se. I obviously have a coach who writes my training with an emphasis on strength and quality. I have goal times given to me for workouts, but I always train by feel to find appropriate pacing. I think stringing together consistent, healthy training is a recipe for success- no need for pushing the envelope and possibly just getting hurt.
RunBlogRun, # 7. Any Cross-Training and/or Weight Training?
Heather Kampf: I do the ElliptiGO/Elliptical probably once every other week now, I had been doing it quite a bit more coming back from sacral stress injuries over the past couple of years. I also had done a ton of pool work then. I do specific strength sessions with a coach once per week, plyometrics once per week, and a fair amount of other core/PT/strength stuff on my own on a daily basis.
RunBlogRun, # 8. What kind of Advice can you give to young runners?
Heather Kampf: Be patient/consistent, put an emphasis on all the “details” (sleep, nutrition, strength work, etc), enjoy the process, surround yourself with good people, keep it fun!
RunBlogRun, # 9. Any Staten Island Connections?
Heather Kampf: I Honestly I can’t think of any. I only just visited Long Island for the mile that Kyle Merber puts on, otherwise I’ve mostly stuck to just Manhattan in my trips to the area. Hopefully I’ll make some good Staten Island memories at the end of February!
The @runblogrun tour of the IAAF World Indoor Tour, aka Le Tour de Larry, is sponsored by USATF and Nike, reminding you that the 2019 USATF Indoor Championships are February 22, 23, and 24 at the Ocean Breeze AC, on Staten Island. To purchase tickets, please use this link:
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