1983 champ Matt Giusto gives insights on a game plan and good tapering techniques.
Q: Can you please describe some of the most important memories from your FLCC experience?
A: Regional memories are much more vivid. The intensity of the
competitors and pressure to qualify was enormous. Once at Nationals the
hospitality and events that were put together removed most of the pressure
and created a very relaxed and fun atmosphere. The pressure to perform well
was there but not too intense. Obviously for me the experience was amazing,
having won the "Biggest Race" of my life up that point. It is a memory that
I carry with me today.
Q: Can you provide some tips for runners preparing for the regionals?
A: As I mentioned above the most nerve racking and pressured race is
the regionals. With 200+ runners and the expectation of being in the Top 10
is intense. The hardest thing to do in both races is to run "your" race. It
is very easy to fall into the trap of changing the way you race with so many
competitors using many different strategies (going out fast or slow and
surging on different parts of the course). The key is to create a game plan
with your coach and stick with it for at least the first 50% of the race.
This allows you to build your confidence and to feel comfortable with the
pace. Once in the second half of the race you can take more risks with pace
and be more aggressive based on knowing how you felt the first half.
Q: Do you have any tips for runners who qualify and have one or two weeks of downtime between their regional race and the Nationals?
A: This can be a very anxious time and if not managed properly can ruin the biggest race of your life. This is where your coach steps in and manages both workouts and mental well being. The key motto is: "The money is in the bank." Don't do anything foolish and or different with regards to workouts or mental preparation. Any workouts that are done should be "Feel Good Workouts." These are workouts that you like the best and always run well during the season. All runners have them. Be sure to stay active and DO NOT shut down and "over rest." This will cause you to become sluggish and nervous.
Q: What should runners expect at Nationals?
A: Nothing!!!! Go into nationals with the motto "The money is in the bank". There's nothing more you can do to become a better runner in two days. Enjoy the festivities and go with the flow. Try to find a little down time to get focused but don't over do it. Go into the race with ZERO expectations and simply run the best race you know how. The rest will take care of itself.