Upper Saint Clair's Savannah Shaw turned into one of the top runners in the WPIAL and the state last fall. After taking 79th in the state in AAA as a sophomore, Shaw made some strong improvements into the spring, and then last fall really emerged. She placed fourth in District 7 before placing 14th at states in the fall of 2016.
Shaw enters this season looking to improve upon those performances from last season. On the track, Shaw ran a PR of 4:53 to take fifth at the outdoor state meet. She seems primed for a big last high school season the trails.
She's slated to open up her regular season at the Mary Uher Invitational at Cal U. But before that, Shaw took the time to answer some questions for PennTrackXC, looking ahead to this upcoming XC season.
Photo by Phil Grove
PennTrackXC: How has your summer training been going? Are you where you want to be fitness-wise for this point in the season?
Savannah Shaw: My summer training has been going really well! My coach, a few of my teammates, and I went to Colorado to train for a week at the Boulder Running Camp there. It was a great experience and helped me to increase the quality of my workouts and my mileage as I had been hoping to do this summer!
PTXC: With official practices starting, what is the vibe like on the team heading into the start of the season?
SS: My team is really excited heading into this season. We have a great group this year!
PTXC: You made some big strides between your sophomore and junior seasons and placed 14th at states last fall. What do you think the difference was from one year to the next?
SS: I think it was in part due to lengthening and progressing my long run, which is the most important run of the week. I also believe continuing to increase the intensity of my hard days, while staying easy on my recovery days (to keep myself injury free and well rested for hard days) gave me success in 2016.
PTXC: Did having that success last season change your approach to summer training?
SS: Last season helped prove to me that the quality of my summer training is just as important as my mileage. My average mileage per week was 35 last summer which is lower than I had hoped but because of consistency and utilizing different strategies during my runs (such as fartleks, tempo, and progressive runs) I was able to significantly improve during the season.
PTXC: The WPIAL has some many talented individuals. Does that motivate you knowing there are so many fast girls within your district?
SS: Yes! Competition makes everyone race faster. It's so helpful to have girls to race with, especially when it comes to improving a PR.
Interview Above: Shaw talks after her second place finish at TSTCAs last fall.
PTXC: Which regular season meets are you most looking forward to this season?
SS: I am looking forward to racing at Cal U, my home course, and the Red White and Blue invitational! The Cal U course is very hilly which is a challenge and requires great strategy so I'm excited to see how I can improve the time I have gotten there. My home course is flat and offers a chance for me to really improve my PR. Finally, Red White And Blue gives me a chance to race against the best girls in the area.
PTXC: What is one of the little things you do on a daily or weekly basis that you feel makes you a better runner?
SS: Everyday I try to get at least 8 hours of sleep- ideally more than 8, by I try to never get less. This helps me have energy, helps keep me injury free, and keeps me from getting sick. It really makes a big difference even though an extra half an hour or hour may seem small.