Will Leer, one of our favorite and most enduring American distance runners, who is racing the 2019 Toyota USATF Indoor Champs this weekend. We thank him for answering 9 questions from Jeff Benjamin.
RunBlogRun, # 1.) How did you get into the Sport?
Will Leer: I got in to the sport when I realized I was NOT a very good tennis player and wanted to find another spring sport my sophomore year of high school. I’d always been one of the faster guys on the soccer field, so I knew I could move well but it wasn’t until my first meet that I really fell in love with the sport.
RunBlogRun, # 2.) Would you consider yourself a fast or slow developer?
Will Leer: I’d say neither fast nor slow. Aside from having somewhat immediate success in high school my progression, at least from about 2003 through 2014, had been pretty linear, steadily getting better each year.
RunBlogRun, # 3.) Most memorable HS Race?
Will Leer: My most memorable high school race was likely my first. It was a big indoor race at the University of Minnesota fieldhouse. There were kids running around everywhere, pure pandemonium, and I loved it. I was running the 4x400m with a group of three seniors (all captains on the team) and the only advice I was given was “take three hard strides, turn around, get the baton, and run your best.” I did just that and promptly found myself with my head buried in a trash can after handing off to our anchor leg.
RunBlogRun, #4.) Most memorable College Race?
Will Leer: My first national title, also an indoor race, in 2006. Division III indoor nationals was being held at St Olaf College in Northfield, MN, about 45 minutes from my parents’ house. So, I figured qualifying would be a great way to have someone else pay for a trip home! I ended up winning as a pretty big underdog but it elevated my status, in Division III at least, as someone to contend with Nick Symmonds, come outdoors.
RunBlogRun, # 5.)What’s The difference in being a Pro?
Will Leer: Honesty, almost everything is different. There is no one to hold your hand. There’s no official practice time to meet your friends. Often we have to coordinate track access (most tracks in the US are at schools and thus are closed to our use during the day) with school schedules or negotiate use with a college/university. As a professional, it’s all on you to get the job done. If you’re lucky you have training partners, but often when you travel to a race you’re out there on your own. Making friends on the professional circuit makes the experience dramatically less lonely but at the end of the day, track is a very individual sport.
RunBlogRun, # 6.) What Comprises Your Training Philosophy?
Will Leer: I follow the philosophy of my coach, Joe Bosshard, which at least recently was described to me as “being great at being good.” Which essentially boils down to coming to practice, doing the assigned task, not racing your training partners every day, and being ready to do it again in a couple of days. Consistency is the key to success as a distance runner.
RunBlogRun, #7.) Any Weight Training?
Will Leer: We are in the gym roughly three times per week after our workouts and long runs.
RunBlogRun, # 8.) What kind of advice can you give to young runners?
Will Leer: Find friends to run with. Enjoy training. Don’t fret about what anyone else is doing. Learn to love racing. That’s what it’s all about.
RunBlogRun, # 9.) Do you have any Staten Island Connections?
Will Leer: No Staten Island connections that I know of, but my brother lives in lower Manhattan (Financial District) so that’s pretty close.
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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