Catching Up With Brianne Nelson
2013 is treating Colorado-based Brianne Nelson extremely well. The 32 year old is off to a fast start, placing 11th at the USA Cross Country Championships, fourth at the USA 15km Championships and second at the USA 10 Mile Championship. Such accomplishments not only have positioned her as one of the best road racers in the United States at the moment, but also leave her in second place in the USARC standings.
As Nelson prepares for the USA 25km Championships in Grand Rapids, Michigan this weekend, she looks to take over the USARC lead with a first or second place effort. We caught up with Nelson this week, discussing her season, her training set up, life as a full-time runner and mom and how she only began running competitively in college.
Scott Bush (SB): You're off to a great start to your 2013 racing season. Knowing that you have some big-time performances behind you, how are you feeling about your season thus far?
Brianne Nelson (BN): I am pretty excited about my season so far! I have had a lot of fun doing cross country, roads and even getting on the track. I have not spent much time on the track so I am excited to see how training and racing on the track will help my running. I have been learning a lot through racing track in terms of strategy, and learning how hard and when to push myself.
SB: The US 25 km Championships are coming up. How will you approach such an odd distance race?
BN: I have never run a 25k before, but I am looking forward to it. I really enjoy the half marathon so just a little farther. I would like to think I can run consistently at longer distances, as I have always viewed myself as a distance runner.
SB: You've been very active on the USARC series. What has the series meant to you as an athlete?
BN: The USARC has been such a great way to compete against some amazing ladies. Other than athletes, the athlete coordinators and everyone else has done a fantastic job. It has been nice to have a series where you know it will be competitive, and incorporate a lot of different distances.
SB: You're part of a strong training group in the Denver/Boulder area. Could you speak to that a little bit?
BN: There is an amazing amount of talent in the Denver/Boulder area. I initially was being trained by my brother in-law Jeremy Nelson, but he recognized that I needed more attention as he is busy running his company Roll Recovery. So I started to train with the American Distance Project with Scott Simmons. Scott has been an amazing coach, he is very dedicated to his athletes and has a genuine passion for this sport. Scott has really given me a lot confidence and helped not only with the nuts and bolts of training, but has also helped me with the mental game. The ADP has also proven to be a really good community of athletes to train with, many of whom have the same goals and I have made some good friends from this group. Aside from the ADP there are a plethora of other females in the area who run amazing times so there is always good healthy competition.
SB: You've had a unique road to where you are now, not having run in high school, racing at DII Fort Lewis College, giving up the sport, then coming back on and off due to pregnancy. Can you talk about what your journey to this level of running has meant to you?
BN: Fort Lewis was a great experience for me and really planted a seed for me to want to run hard. I knew I always wanted to have kids, and I also knew I had some running goals, so I have had to try and to make them both work. It was really hard for me to try and run when I was pregnant, and shortly after, but that also increased my passion for the sport. It has been fun and challenging trying to balance being a full time mom and athlete.
SB: What does a typical week of training look like for?
BN: I seem to average about 90-100 miles a week. Tuesdays are usually my speed days 800,400 or miles, Fridays are my Tempo or PR, Sundays are my long runs. I don’t have a set weight routine or program but, sometimes I will toss around my 15 pound weights and do some arm work. I try to hit core work at least 2xs a week.
SB: How do you manage being a mom to two children and running full time?
BN: I have to get crafty and be ready to workout when the time works between my kids and husbands work schedule. It can feel like an uphill battle sometimes, my sleep schedule is hardly ideal. But I do have a supportive husband who helps me coordinate training and racing. I am lucky that my kiddos both now go to preschool 3 mornings a week so that makes those days easier for me to get training in.
With the weather getting nice now for my second run I can run them to the park down the road and run around the park while they play. I also have a treadmill in my house so on the days my husband (firefighter) works 24-hour shifts I do runs and workouts on it. I have learned that it might not always be the perfect situation or time of day but I will get it in regardless.
SB: Favorite pre-race meal?
BN: Spaghetti and meatballs
SB: Best part of living in Colorado?
BN: The trails
SB: Favorite time of day to run?
BN: Early morning
SB: Best band?
BN: Any country music
SB: Favorite book?
SB: Tempo run, hill workout, track repeats?
BN: Tempo run but track repeats are getting closer