Thursday, November 28, 2013

Catching up with Harker HS runner, Corey Gonzales...

Today we chat with Harker HS junior, Corey Gonzales (photo to the left courtesy of Hank Lawson).  Less than 2 weeks ago, Corey won the Central Coast Section (CCS) Division IV race with a new personal record of 15:34.  Last year during the Track and Field season, Corey finish in 7th place at the CCS 3200m. final with a time of 9:28.26 right behind fellow sophomore Steven Sum.  They will be the fastest returning 3200m. runners during the spring season.  As we head into the CA state XC meet, Corey is ranked in the top 10 in Division IV and will be vying for one of those coveted podium spots.

1) What other sports have you played besides Cross Country and Track and Field?
 I’ve played tackle football, baseball, basketball, and wrestling.

2) When did you first start running? When did you first realize that you could be a successful runner? 
My dad used to be a semi-competitive runner and he would always drag me along to do 5K road races with him. This was back in like third grade and I can definitely say that it wasn’t all that fun for me. However, I’d always been considered a “good” runner throughout elementary and middle school, and I think my middle school PR in the mile was like 5:45. In middle school my main focus was actually wrestling, and I spent pretty much all of freshman year training for it. I probably first realized that I had some potential in running when I ran 16:53 at Crystal Springs during CCS Championships. I had only joined cross country to help my fitness for wrestling, so this race was a good indicator that I could achieve great things in running if I put my mind to it.

3) Tell us a little about your freshman cross country season and some of your highlights? 
Highlight was definitely my CCS race. I was able to cap off the season with a pretty solid freshman time and with high hopes for the future.

4) What about your freshman track and field season? Highlights? 
Freshman year I was actually injured for most of the track season, but I’d say my highlight was running 10:19 in the frosh-soph 3200 at CCS Top 8. Breaking the five-minute barrier in the mile was also pretty sweet, which I did in our second league meet.

5) What did you do differently, training wise, before your sophomore cross country season?
The biggest change heading into my sophomore year was just that I began to train consistently. After track, I took about 3 weeks off and then got right into my summer training. I did zero quality work, instead just working on slowly building my mileage until I was running about 40 miles per week in August. That was a lot of running for me at the time.

 6) What do you feel were your best sophomore cross country and track and field races? What are your current T/F personal records? 
In my mind, my sophomore year of cross-country was like a stepping-stone for me. I started to show signs of success by the end of the season, running 16:18 at Toro during CCS, good enough for 4th place and a state meet berth. It wasn’t until track when I really began to break out though. My biggest highlight was probably either running 9:28 at CCS trials to qualify for the finals, or running 4:24 at the Sacramento MOC. Finally, after running these two times, everything felt like it was starting to come together for me.

7) What did you do this past summer in preparation for this current season? What was your typical weekly mileage? Longest run? Any workouts?
This past summer wasn’t anything too fancy for me. I took 2 weeks off after track, and then started out running around 30 miles per week. From there I just slowly increased the mileage, most of which was done at Mike Dudley’s summer boot camp, which I highly recommend for anyone looking to get together with a good group of runners for some low-key mileage. By the beginning of August, I was up to around 50 miles a week or so, but the removal of my wisdom teeth followed by a fever kept me from running for nearly two weeks. It was a pretty unfortunate way for me to start the season.

I didn’t really do any quality work all summer – just volume. The longest runs I ever did were 80 minutes, so I was probably hitting around 11 miles on these.

8) What does a typical week of training look like for you during the season? What are the workouts that give you the most confidence? Hardest workout(s)? How often do you lift or do any kind of ancillary work? 
Each week of training is pretty much unique for us. Everything just depends on when and where our next races are. Here’s what the week after CCS looked like in preparation for the state meet:

Monday: 10 mile run, flat and easy
Tuesday: 7 mile run, hilly and steady
Wednesday: Track workout
Mile @ 4:50
4x400 @ 75
4x200 @ 37
Thursday: 6 mile run, flat and easy
Friday: Tempo run
400 @ 70, 400 @ 80, 400 @ 90
Did this cycle 3 times… so just a 2.25 mile tempo
Saturday: 7 mile run, flat and easy
Sunday: Off

As for workouts that give me confidence, I’d have to say that 800m repeats give me the best benchmark, at least for cross-country. Our workouts vary so much though that I wouldn’t say we have a single “hardest” workout. But we do try to redline at least once a week.

Over the summer, I lifted about twice a week. Just basic stuff like squats, bicep curls, lat pulls, etc. and high reps with low weights. I know for me at least, I run a lot better when I feel strong so these workouts were just to help me add on a few pounds of muscle before the season started. During season, I would just do bodyweight stuff like pushups, pull-ups, core, etc. 2-3 times a week.

9) What was your plan heading into the CCS meet? How familiar were you with your closest competitors? When did you make your move to the finish line?
Well my plan going into CCS was to win, and I knew I could if I raced my absolute best. Logan Marshall had been running better than me all season and Edgar Bonilla has a crazy fast Toro PR. I knew that if I ran a relaxed first mile and stayed with those two for the middle part of the race, I could hopefully make a move right around the second mile marker. As it turned out, I actually waited until after the last hill to really take off (so like 1000m to go) – from here, it was straight to the finish line.

 10) Heading into the state meet, what do you feel are the keys to running well on the Woodward Park course? 
Last year when I ran at Woodward I think I psyched myself out a bit too much because it was by far the biggest race I’d ever been in. I ended up going out in like 5 flat for the first mile and dying. Now, I’m a lot stronger and I hope my experience from last year will help me run a smarter race. I plan to go out fast and relaxed; I know that tons of guys will end up dying at some point during the second mile, so the key for me is to get out fast enough to be competitive with the top runners without over-exerting myself.

11) What is your advice for a young talented runner who wants to get to the next level and compete well at the section and state levels? 
The great thing about running is that there are so many things you can do to help yourself improve. But here are just a few tips that I always like to keep in mind.

1) Have confidence in your training. I used to be a really impatient guy and running has taught me to thrive off of delayed gratification. I put in a good amount of training the summer, fall, and winter of my sophomore year, and it wasn’t until the spring when I finally started getting decently fast times. Stay consistent and determined and the results will come.

2) Always be thinking about what you’re doing and how it affects your running. This is still something that I could work on a lot, and I mean we’re all still in high school so I also think that living a balanced life is pretty crucial. But a good thing to keep in mind is that just as important as practice itself are the 22 hours that you’re not in practice. Always be thinking about recovery, diet, sleep, etc.

12) Anything else you would like to add.
Thanks for the interview Albert! Not gonna lie it’s always been a goal of mine to be on your website one day. Keep it up, it’s awesome!

Thank you very much for your time Corey!  AJC


Anonymous said...

Really enjoyed this, he seems like a very believable guy. He wasn't any sort of crazy prodigy his freshman year or anything and now hes great. thanks for this albert.

Anonymous said...

Go Corey! So proud of you kid.

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