Phoebe Wright, an alumni of the University of Tennessee, ended her college career as a 5-time NCAA Champion and now trains in Seattle, WA. Phoebe has an impressive PR of 1:58.22 in the 800m, 4:08 in the 1500m and most recently placed 3rd at the USA Indoor Championships. She has shared her journey of professional running with many followers on her blog
where she openly speaks of about a journey of improvement in college, as well as topics of overtraining and proper recovery. She’s got a big season ahead with Olympic aspirations in her sights, and generously shared with us tips and tricks for daily recovery. What’s her favorite workout? Hard 300 meters with full recovery. Sounds like a killer mid-distance workout to us!
New Balance Games
January 22, 2011, New York, NY
Photo by: Lisa Conilglio
What is your favorite hard workout?
6x300m at slightly faster than 800m race pace with 4 minutes recovery.
I try to imagine myself at different points during a race. It helps me go on autopilot when it is actually time to race. Even though I like to do this, a lot of times, I do a bad job doing this. The 6 intervals give me 6 different chances to get it right and find a good rhythm. AND! 300s are the sweet spot interval where you feel like you are accomplishing something (unlike 200s, which are glorified strides), yet, the distance is manageable (you only have to focus for 40ish seconds! My attention span can handle that!)
Do you have a mantra that you tell yourself before/during this workout?
Well, speaking of mantras! Funny story! Usually I have my go-to mantras that I use during races. “Do or Die” is one of them. “Smooth and loose” is another. But this weekend, Ajee put on a surge at the middle of the race. THE MIDDLE! Nothing is more uncomfortable than starting a kick with half a race to go! I ended up yelling to myself–in my head– “YOU GO WITH IT, PHOEBE. COURAGE!” And then I preceded to say “Courage! Courage! Courage!” in my head for the next minute. I might have said it out loud at some point. The only thing I thought other than “courage!” was, “Really, Phe. Couldn’t you pick something slightly less cheesy than ‘courage’?” But it worked! And I was happy with how courageous I raced!
2010 USA Outdoor Championships
Des Moines, Iowa June 23-27, 2010
Photo: Victah Sailer@PhotoRun
What do you to prepare for a tough workout? Any special food/stretching habits before?
For workouts, I try to control my mental attitude more than my physical environment. The only real habit that is consistent is a pre workout coffee. It is my way of telling the bod to get relaxed but focused. Plus! It’s nice to sit down, drink some coffee, and read all of twitter.
Besides the coffee, the thing I try to control is my mental attitude. A practice is a dress rehearsal for a race. I want to line up for a race confident, relaxed, and mindful. I use practices to practice having that mindset.
Recently! I’ve been playing with my level of excitedness/nervousness. I’ve been allowing myself to stay completely calm before starting a hard interval to prove to myself that I can run fast without trying to run fast. It’s a weird concept. Runners sometimes think you have to hurt to run fast. This isn’t really true, and I’ve been proving it to myself.
What goals do you have for this outdoor season?
I want to line up every race confident. And I want to be in position to win with 100m to go. I think that’s realistic. If I do those 2 things, I’ll have a legitimate chance to make the Olympic Team. Will I make the team? No idea. A lot of things have to play in my favor to pull it off. There are about 10 women who have a chance to make it. Only 3 get to go. I just want to give myself a fighting chance.
What do you to recover after a race?
Post race is so so important!
1. Cool down and do a few drills to prevent feeling flat the next day.
2. FOOD. STAT. Protein and sugar!
3. Massage! An immediate flush out does wonders. I have my go to physio guy, but he can’t be at every meet. When he’s not there, it is all Roll Recovery and a Lacrosse ball!
Do you have a pre-race song that you listen to? What is it and why?
It varies depending on my mood and what I’m into that week! This weekend it was Daft Punk “Too Long/Steam Machine.” I probably listened to it 5 times in my pre-race. I love old school rap. Love it. Busta Rhymes is probably my fave. I have no clue what he is saying though. He raps too fast.
What advice would you give to runners trying to prevent injuries or overtraining?
If it hurts, take a day off. It won’t kill you. Injuries are nice because they are your bodies way of saying “Heyo! you are over doing it! I am not adapting.” So you will not only heal, but you will be better able to adapt to workouts if you just take the day off.
For overtraining, personally I know when I’m overtraining because I’ll get a stank attitude. If I have 3 days of waking up and not wanting to run, I know I need a day off.
My advice: Take more days off! You won’t lose fitness!