Leigh Daniel- FreePress Marathon

Leigh Daniel- FreePress Marathon

Leigh Daniel- FreePress

Leigh DanielRM: Will you be looking to run a qualifying time for 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon at the 2006 Detroit Free Press International Marathon? What other goals do you have for Detroit?

LD: My main goal is to get a qualifying time. I have been training to run 2:40-42, so that is my goal time.

RM: How will you use your previous experience from Detroit in 2004 when you were the third woman in 2:46:47? What is your favorite memory from the 2004 race?

LD: I feel more prepared because I know the course now. I really liked the course, and look forward to running it again. My favorite memory was running the downhill side of the Ambassador Bridge into Canada. The Black Eyed Peas “Let’s get it started” was playing over loud speakers, and an announcer on a microphone welcomed us into Canada.

RM: How do you balance training for a marathon and being Ashland University’s Women’s Cross Country Coach?

LD: The schedule that I have as a coach has been quite conducive to training. I have my mornings to get my training in. I am able to plan workouts and recruit from home. So, I basically set my own hours. There are not many jobs that are that flexible. I feel very lucky to have found a profession I love, and still be able to train. I can also run with my team if I need to get in an extra run.

RM: What is the most difficult part about training for a marathon? And what do you enjoy most about running?

LD: For me, the most difficult part of training for a marathon is getting out the door for a run when your legs are telling you they are too tired. This happens frequently when you are doing lots of miles. That’s when it is very nice to have training partners. I really enjoy the long workouts. They are usually run close to marathon pace, so they start out feeling easy but after 10-15 miles of intervals your legs feel pretty tired. It is a very satisfying feeling to complete those types of workouts.

RM: Will you be providing any course advice for Nick Cordes (Ashland University’s Men’s Cross Country Coach)?

LD: I have told him that Detroit is the type of course that you can get into a rhythm on. You don’t have to worry about a really hilly part to the course. So, he can just go out there and run relaxed and consistent. I also told him how sweet it is to finally see the stadium, and to run down the tunnel into the finish. Although, climbing the stairs out of the stadium is brutal!

RM: What do you look forward to most about coming back to Michigan to race?

LD: I have so many great memories of my time in Michigan. I most look forward to hanging out with friends that I get to see when I come back to Michigan. I also love running in the cold, so I am counting on it being chilly on race day

RM: You recently raced at the USA 20K Championships in New Haven, how do you use a race like the 20K Championships to help with running the marathon? What other races have you run recently to help with your marathon training?

LD: During this particular segment I used the 20k as a test of fitness, and as a workout for the marathon. If the 20k would have been closer to the marathon I would not have run as hard, and would have run closer to marathon pace to get that race day rhythm down. Nick and I decided not to do any other races in the 8 weeks before the marathon, so that we could focus 100% on training.

RM: What are your running plans after Detroit? And when will we see you back in Michigan racing or coaching?

LD: First, I plan to take some time off. Then I will start training for the USATF Club Cross Country Championships in December. I will definitely be back to Michigan to race in the future. It is a good excuse to come back and see friends. If someone wants to offer me a really lucrative offer to coach at a Michigan University, I would be there in a heartbeat!

RM: What do you enjoy most about coaching at Ashland? And how is your 2006 season going? How are you looking for the GLIAC Championships and the Great Lakes DII Regional?

LD: I really enjoy seeing my girls improve and obtain goals. It is very rewarding. We have a very fun and laid back atmosphere, but every coach and athlete works hard to be the best. Our season is going well so far. Everyone is healthy and running well right now, so that is all you can ask for. We have trained the team to be ready for the Region race, so I am looking forward to see how we will compete.

Thanks for the great interview Leigh (Interview conducted by John Brabbs)