Allie Woodward talks with Tips4Running.com

Allie Woodward during her senior CC season at Green Bay Notre Dame

During the 2010-2011 school year, Allie Woodward put together one of the best ever running seasons in Wisconsin State History. It started in the fall when she dominated at the state CC meet running a 13:59 for the 4K. She also went on to finish 6th at the Foot Locker CC National Championships. Then in track, she ran a blistering 10:11 for the 3200 setting the best time ever for the state of Wisconsin. She continues to run road races and high profile national track events as she enters her freshman year at The University of Oregon. We caught up with her and asked her a few questions about her recent success and interesting history with running.

David Tiefenthaler - You have run three impressive races this June. First you ran the fastest time ever in Wisconsin in the 3200 with a 10:11. Then you go and run The Bellin 10K road race in 34:18 setting an age division record. Finally, you finished third at the USA Track Federation Junior National Championships with a 9:33. Which one of these races do you consider your best run?

Allie Woodward - Each race is really unique for a variety of reasons. The state meet was special because the 3200 was my last run as a Triton, Bellin was all about having fun and enjoying the race that got me started, and the USA Track Championships was an opportunity I dreamed the whole season about and wasn’t and end but instead a beginning at Hayward Field.

DT - How are your legs holding up? That’s a lot of racing in a short amount of time.

AW - I truly think that because my coaches have made a plan for my training and the fact that I love to cross train and play a variety of sports keeps me really healthy. A good base of solid milelage has kept me physically healthy but the mental stress of competition is what most athletes struggle with the most I think. I’m not feeling like I’m mentally worn down at all at this point because I’ve been so excited to just have fun competing in these different events. Even though I had post-season races, many of my training days focused on just enjoying my runs.

DT - You qualified for the Pan Am Junior Championships in July. Will you run in this event?

AW - I’m not sure at this point. It's a decision I’ll make with all my Coaches and Parents soon!

DT - You are off to Oregon to run for the Ducks in the fall. Do you want to be on the varsity team right away, or are you planning on redshirting and acclimating yourself to the school your first year at the University?

AW - I’m thrilled to be running for the Ducks in the fall and really feel lucky to have gotten another chance to get to know Eugene at the USATF junior championships last week. My teammates and coaches have been so awesome in getting me psyched to be coming to Oregon. I’ll be ready to do whatever Coach Ashcroft and Lanana ask of me!

DT - Did you meet any of your new teammates when you were at the USATF Junior Championships or see the school at all?

AW - Like I said before, the USATF junior championships were special because I did get the chance to explore Eugene and the Campus. In addition, the trip was so much more fun because I got to catch up with some of the team and meet a few who will also be freshman at U of O in the fall. The team and all of the people who came to watch the meet and support the Ducks, made me feel really at home and comfortable with my long move from Green Bay to Oregon.

DT - Why did you choose Oregon? Are you at all afraid of how far you will be away from home?

AW - I think it would suprise most people to hear that I did not choose Oregon because of their “Track Town Persona” or just based upon running. I’m still not sure that I realize how big the sport is at U of O and how many fans and supporters the Ducks have. However, when I took my visit, it was very clear to me that Oregon is a place where I can dream big and strive for athletic and academic success. Equally as important was the combination of the care and commradery that experienced amongst the team and from the staff. Sometimes people told me I’d have a feeling about a place being right, and I really feel, for me Eugene is a place where I’ll be happy, healthy, and able to go for big success!

DT - You mentioned that the Oregon Team felt like a second family when you visited. What are some of the things that they do or have in place that made you feel comfortable when you visited there?

AW - I took my visit on my eighteenth birthday last January and i’ll never forget two girls on the team made me a cake and we all went bowling to celebrate. I got a real sense that I’d fit in and have tons of fun with them with each new person that I met. The girls I stayed with were also really welcoming and I found the same family support that cross-country teams are known for.

DT - What kind of mileage are you planning on running this summer to prepare for college? Do the Oregon coaches give you a training plan to follow during the summer?

AW - My summer plans will depend upon the decision somewhat with Pan Ams but I want to do whatever my coaches see fit for the best possible start as a duck come the fall. Right now, I’m enjoying the summer traveling and being with friends and family.

DT - The 2010 season was your first and only running Cross Country in High School. You used to play tennis in the fall. What finally made you change your mind and run CC?

AW - After 3 years of tennis and a pretty fun junior track season I thought i’d give it a shot :) Really evident from the start was that sense of community among not only the NDA CC athletes but their families too. I could see the spirit and care they had for each other was something special even before I joined the team.

DT - Running Cross Country is a totally different sport. You don’t “play” cross country. Do you miss playing tennis?

AW - I don’t look back and regret my decision to play high school tennis. I’ll never forget what its like to be a part of a three time state championship team and how much fun I had with those teammates. Tennis actually taught me a number of skills I still use as a runner. Visualization and the a gutsy attitude are just small things I still think I learned from tennis. I mentioned I really enjoy cross training and still play a little with my friends and family. Its fun to pick up my racquet and try to compete a little still, even if i’m only playing my brother :)

DT - By looking at your PR’s at different distances, it seems the longer the race, the better you perform? Is this true, or do you see yourself running the mile or 800 for Oregon during the track season?

AW - No I definitely think God did not make me a sprinter...I’d say that I’m a distance girl but I’m not sure what Coach Ashcroft and Coach Lanana will ask me to try next year! I can’t choose just one favorite race because there truly is a difference in the way I think about racing something like the 1600 and a 10k.

DT - What are the major differences besides the talent level between a race like the WIAA State Track meet and the national meets you have taken part in? Are the races well attended? Is it fun meeting runners from other parts of the country?

AW - I think that competition only helps a runner improve and I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to compete nationally this year in Cross Country and Track. Whenever runners challenge each other to compete at a higher level, I see it as an opportunity to improve. I had a great experience with that at state track this year and in the national meets. My coaches always remind me the goal is to stand at that start line with a smile, not fear. Embrace the competition!

DT - Thanks for your time Allie. Good luck in the future!

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