Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Catching up with Skyline HS (OAK) senior runner, Zachary Katzman

Today we chat with Skyline senior runner, Zachary Katzman (photo to the left courtesy of UC Davis). This past season, Katzman had one of the finest seasons by an Oakland Section athlete in recent memory. He won the Ed Sias Large School race in 10:07.8. He finished in 4th place at the Stanford Invitational Division III race in 15:46.5. His official high school season concluded at the California state meet where he finished 15th in the uber-competitive Division I race (15:25.0). For his efforts throughout the season, Katzman was named 1st team all NorCal. Katzman's PRs during the 2015 Track & Field season including a 4:24.95 mile and 9:20.20 3200m.

1) Looking back at this past XC season, what would you say was your best race? What are some of your proudest accomplishments?
This past season was only my second high school cross country season - I ran club track / XC from 6th through 10th grade. By the beginning of the year, I had finally adjusted to the new training and racing styles, and this showed early on when I won the Ed Sias Invitational. Later on, a comfortable 16:00 solo at the Oakland Athletic League City Championships was a great tune-up for the next couple of weeks. However, I think my best race was at the state meet, where I set an Oakland Section record and improved upon my 2014 place (151st) by 136 spots. That performance was quite encouraging for the upcoming track season.

2) What was your training like during the summer? Did you do anything differently than previous summers? Typical weekly mileage? Workouts?
During the summer, we mostly did base training. My mileage was around 55-65 miles/week, and most of our workouts were geared towards endurance development. This was similar to summer training in 2014; however, I had trained differently with my club team - more workouts, less mileage runs.

3) Any bumps along the way during your season? Any challenging races that made you even more determined for the next race?
I hurt my IT band in mid-September, so I had to cut back on training during the week of Stanford Invite. Though it made the race challenging, the most difficult part was hardly running at all during practice. Luckily, I recovered quickly, so the time I took off was well worth it.

4) What does a typical training week look like for you? Longest run? Typical pace for most of your runs? Training partner(s) or are most of your runs solo? Morning runs? Weight work?
Monday: Controlled run
Tuesday: Easy run
Wednesday: Workout (tempo, mile repeats, hill repeats, etc.)
Thursday: Controlled run & hip mobility
Friday: Easy run
Saturday: Race/Workout/Long run
Sunday: Recovery
*Controlled and easy runs are mileage but at slightly different paces.

My longest runs are 14 miles. I usually run 6:00-6:20 pace for mileage. Most of my runs are solo, but we recently started a new system in which a faster pace group runs easy on the next fastest pace group’s controlled run. We do this 1-2 times a week, and it’s been great to run with my teammates more often. I run in the morning primarily for enjoyment. We do several strength circuits and core work each week but no weights.

5) From your own experience, what do you feel like has really worked for you training wise? What changes have you made as you got more experienced as a runner?
Training with high intensity - not necessarily greater volume - seems to work for me, but I think this depends on the person.

After alternating between track and football in middle school, I got more serious about running once I started high school (still running club). At that point, I started running year-round and got more competitive in racing, rather than doing it just for fun. Since then, I've only made minor changes, although transitioning into high school track / XC was challenging. I think that for most athletes, maintaining the same training style is more effective than routinely making big changes.

6) Who are the people that have been the most influential in your success? How?
Coach Willie White, my club coach, played an instrumental role in my development not only as an athlete, but as a person. Over the five years we worked together, he helped me find my passion for running and, once I was ready, pushed me to improve and compete at my best. Coach White continues to be a mentor and never stops supporting me.

Coach Se├ín Kohles and Coach Javier Alvarado have been role models for me ever since I joined Skyline’s team. They are willing to offer advice and support regarding everything that's important to me. They’ve also been a huge help in the college search, application, and recruiting processes.

7) Why has running been so important to you? What have you learned from being a runner?
I love running. It’s become a part of my identity and has helped me develop many non-athletic assets, traits, and characteristics that I value greatly.

8) Favorite XC course? Favorite XC invitational? Favorite XC workout? Favorite opponent(s)? Favorite long run? Favorite TF invitational? Favorite TF event? Favorite TF workout? Favorite free-time activity?
- XC Course: It’s a tie between the Joaquin Miller Park and Skyline HS courses. Joaquin Miller is extremely hilly, but it’s the traditional home of the Oakland Section Finals. Being a part of that history - and not worrying about time - is a blast. The Skyline course is also hilly but a lot faster, making it a good place for quick solo times.
- XC Invite: Ed Sias Invitational. I love the atmosphere of the meet, and it’s a great season opener. Plus, it’s fun to run a 2-mile for cross country.
- XC Workout: Tempo
- Opponents: Anyone who presents a challenge. I live for a competitive race.
- Long Run: Bayview Trail. Skyline is right next to a number of beautiful city and regional parks, and we’re lucky to have the opportunity to run through them nearly every day.
- T&F Invite: Dublin Distance Fiesta
- T&F Event: 3200m
- T&F Workout: Longer interval work (1000’s, ladders, etc.)
- Free-time Activities: Outside of running, I’m in Skyline’s jazz, concert, and marching bands. I also recently earned my Eagle Scout rank. In my free time, I enjoy playing music, camping, backpacking, and most outdoor activities.

9) Have you decided yet where you will attend college next year? If not, how much of a factor will running be considered when it comes to choosing your next school?
I haven’t decided on a college yet. Running will be a big factor in my college choice, but academics and other factors are also very important.

10) Looking ahead to the track and field season, what are some of the invitationals you are really looking forward to and what are some of your goals that you would like to share?
I’m looking forward to the Dublin Distance Fiesta. I hope to qualify for and run in the Arcadia night meet. A solid performance at the state meet is another big goal of mine.

11) What is your advice for a young talented runner with aspirations of being a section/state champion in the future?
Enjoy the entire process. Mastering any skill is all about repetition. One massive workout or race doesn’t translate to long-term success - it’s finding what works for you and committing to it day after day that leads to results. And success is much more satisfying if you are able to appreciate the journey.

What you do outside of training is often more important than you might think. Managing these factors (recovery, injury prevention, sleep, eating, stress, etc.) effectively goes a long way.

Trust what your coach(es) have you do, but don’t be afraid to ask why.

12) Anything else you would like to add.
Special thanks to my family for their support. A big thank you to my teammates and coaches for embracing me as a junior and newcomer to the team and to Coach White and East Oakland Track Group for their tremendous impact on my life. Thanks as well to my fellow team captains and anyone else I may not have mentioned.

I’d like to give a shout-out to the Oakland Tech girls team and Johanna Ross for setting the state meet team time record and individual record, respectively, and to the Tech boys team and Nick Kleiber for their school record performances. I would also like to recognize the entire Oakland Section for not only accepting, but thriving on, the recent changes we’ve made to improve our section.

Thank you for the interview and congratulations on your team’s success this past season!

Thank you very much for your time Zachary! AJC

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Is it Willie White, the BHS's track coach of 3 decades and the architect of those great teams of the 1970-1980s!! ..And as an Oak Tech graduate..Go Bulldogs!!

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