Talkin XC 2014: Olivia Young

PennTrackXC - How is your summer training going?  What kind of runs are you doing and what kind of mileage are you hitting?

My summer training has been successful so far. Coming off an injury from track season, I have built up my mileage throughout the summer to about 25 miles a week. I have been doing more cross training each week than actual running. My coach and I are trying to be conservative with my training in preparation for a long season, so I only ran distance throughout July and August. My first workout was earlier this month, and we ran 4x1600 with the Perk Valley team!

PennTrackXC - For what 2014 meets are you most excited?

I am most excited to run at districts (for a fast time!), states and hopefully regionals and nationals. These races always have great competition and high stakes and that’s what makes them so exciting. 

PennTrackXC - What are your goals for the 2014 cross country season?

Right now, I am mostly concerned with running the best I can to help my team defend our league, district, state and regional titles and to make a return trip to nationals! As an individual, I hope to improve in time and place from my races last year.

PennTrackXC - What is the most valuable lesson you learned last season and how can it be used to improve your 2014 season?

From track last year, I learned that the most important thing is to get to the starting line healthy at the end of the season when it really counts. This season I hope to stay healthy by doing all the little things right so I can peak for the important meets in November and December.

PennTrackXC - What are your keys to success when it comes to your training program? 

The keys to success for my team are low mileage for running, but a high volume of cross training. My teammates and I always workout together and that motivates me because I know that they are giving it their all right beside me. Consistency in practice and always running faster at the end of a workout than at the beginning are also very important. Sleeping enough, eating right, and hydrating are also essential. 

PennTrackXC - What is your most memorable cross country performance thus far in your career?

McQuaid last year when we beat Fayetteville-Manlius was my most memorable cross country race. Everyone was surprised by the result, including us, which was part of what made it so special. The long van ride home was a blur because we were so happy with our performance. 

PennTrackXC - What is your greatest non-running experience in cross country so far and why?

Watching Gretchen Mills pull an April Fool’s Day prank on our coach during practice. I don’t want to share any details, but every time I think about it, I crack up.

PennTrackXC - When and how did you get started in cross country?

My parents always ran (and still run) to stay in shape. I would tag along with them when I was little. I ran a few local 5ks in elementary and middle school. In 7th grade, I ran my first XC race as part of the middle school team and I have been running cross country every year since then. 

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?

Coach Lac (Lacianca) has been one of the most influential people in my running career because he saw my potential and taught me to dream big. My parents are also always there on the sidelines supporting me and helping me deal with a frustrating race. Lastly, my teammates, especially Courtney Smith, Emily Fisher, Anne Birkenmaier and Abby Dorrell, are crucial to my success because they have encouraged and inspired me since freshman year!

What is your...

Favorite social media hangout? I don’t use social media much so the only one I have is Facebook.
Pre-race ritual/superstition? The “Baby Jesus” pep talk courtesy of Gretchen Mills
Favorite cheat food? Coffee ice cream with dark chocolate chips melted on top
Favorite pro athlete? Kara Goucher
Must-have running accessory? Crazy spandex, especially my rainbow cheetah print pair
Long run jam? I don’t listen to music while I run, but I love life talks on long runs with my teammates
Favorite workout? 2x4400 with hay bales (a 1600 at a moderate pace, then a 600 hard, then another 1600 and another 600)