Abert surprised many viewers at the cross country state championship race last season, finishing 2nd in the AAA division. Abert had another big meet performance at Shippensburg, finishing 5th in the 1600 meter run after a 4:16.90 in the prelims. With Abert entering 2014 as the top AAA returner, will the senior be ready for the expectation of being a championship contender? Abert lets PennTrack know what to expect this season.
400m: 52.04 800m: 1:57.8 1600m: 4:16.53 3200m: 9:20.46 5000m: 15:43 (XC)
PennTrackXC - How is your summer training going? What kind of runs are you doing and what kind of mileage are you hitting?
Summer training was a little different for me this year than the previous years because of my two-week break I took after running the mile in the emerging elite at nationals. Also I went on vacation right after I started to train again. Even though I feel as though I got a late start in the summer, I still put in more mileage than I have in the past. Getting higher weeks of mileage was one of my main focuses going into this season. Also, I have tried to involve core workouts more this summer. I average around three core workouts a week. I raced in one road race this summer with a time of 15:58 and will be competing in two more this summer.
June 29th - July 5th : 18.88 miles
July 6th - July 12th : 16.47 miles (Week of Vacation)
July 13th - July 19th : 34.61 miles (4 days at Penn State XC Camp)
July 20th - July 26th : 37.12 miles
July 27th - Aug. 2nd : 36.98 miles
PennTrackXC - What is the most valuable lesson you learned last season and how can it be used to improve your 2014 season?
Every season that I have raced in has taught me a few lessons. Last season I learned just how important the hill workouts played in how I did. One of the most valuable lessons that I learned last year would be to stay with the pack. There is going to be a time in the race when you are hurting and the pack in front of you starts to surge. It is important to stick with that pack because once you let them go, making a comeback becomes very difficult.
PennTrackXC - For what 2014 meets are you most excited?
I am really looking forward to a bunch of meets this coming season. The Kutztown Invitational will be the first invite that I will be attending this year and I look forward to comparing my time from what I ran last year. Paul Short should also be an interesting meet, since there is always so much talent there. The two meets I am looking forward to most would have to be the state meet and the Northeast Regional Foot Locker race.
PennTrackXC - When and how did you get started in cross country?
I started cross country in seventh grade because I had done alright in the elementary school track meet that we had once a year. My parents thought it would be a good idea to see how I liked running.
PennTrackXC - Who has influenced you the most in your life and what have they meant to you and your success thus far in your career?
I would say that my cross country coach Bobbi Jo Powell has influenced me the most in my life and I would not be the same runner that I am today if she was not my coach. She really helped me to understand the work that you have to put in to be great at something. Coach Powell has always been there for both my good and bad races.
PennTrackXC - What are your keys to success when it comes to your training program?
One thing that I really like about my training program are the high intensity workouts that we do. Hills, tempo runs, and fartleks help me to get into good race shape when the season starts. There is a balance with recovery days where I get in some of my higher mileage for the week.
PennTrackXC - What is your most memorable cross country performance thus far in your career?
I would say my most memorable cross country was the very first race that I won. I was a freshman and it was the third race of the season. One of the best runners in my district at that time was in the race that day. He had beaten me the previous race by over thirty seconds, so I didn’t really think I would come anywhere close to him. The race was awesome and I drafted behind three people for most of the race. In the last half mile I was in second behind the guy that beat me last race. In the last one hundred meters it was an all out sprint and I ended up beating him and setting the course record.
PennTrackXC - What is your greatest non-running experience in cross country so far and why?
I have met so many people because of cross country, whether they were on my team or just at the same meet as me. I really have enjoyed going out to different places that I would have never had a chance to go to if I didn’t run. Traveling to different states just to race is awesome.
PennTrackXC - What are your goals for the 2014 cross country season?
My biggest goals for this season would be to win states and make the national team for Foot Locker, but I would also like to break fifteen minutes this year.
What is your...
Favorite social media hangout? Twitter
Pre-race ritual/superstition? I like to chug two water bottles the night before a race
Favorite cheat food? I love Chick-Fil-A’s Chicken Sandwich
Favorite pro athlete? Chanelle Price (From my high school)
Must-have running accessory? My arm feels naked if I forget my watch
Long run jam? Till I Collapse by Eminem
Favorite workout? Whenever I workout at Jacobsburg