Trent Briney- World Marathon Champs
Trent Briney- World Marathon Champs
Rochester Hills, MI
Trent Briney became one of the premier marathoners in the US with his breakout race at the Olympic Trials last year. In that race, his second attempt at the distance, Trent finished 4th and ran a personal best of over 8 minute. Since all of the top three runners ahead of Trent decided to run the Olympic Marathon, Briney was left as the alternate. This summer Trent will be on probably the next best team, the World Marathon Championship team. Read along to find out how the past year has gone for Trent and what he plans for down the road.
RunMichigan: Trent, first off, congratulations on the success that you have had in the past year that has put you into the position to be a member of the World Championships Marathon team. Could you explain how you have felt over this past year, just missing an Olympic spot, and now making the World team?
TB: First off, thanks for covering our sport so well. All states need a “RunMichigan.com”. To answer your question, I was thrilled to be an alternate for the Olympic Team last summer. I was saddened only on the Olympic Marathon race day when I realized I was so close to being in the race. Everyone wants to be an Olympian and being close definitely makes you ask yourself if you gave it everything you had to qualify. Well, I did and that gives me some peace of mind.
Now, with the World Championships just under 3 months away I have started my buildup to my first world level event. I am excited to improve upon my last marathon, the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon, a sub-par performance that has taught me lessons. I have been waiting a year and a half for this team to be named and it is great to see it become reality. It is my chance that I was oh so close to last summer to wear the USA uniform.
RunMichigan: There was a lot of pressure on you after your surprise performance last February. What level of pressure do you feel now? What did you do to deal with the pressure and do you thrive off of the pressure or does it seem to affect you?
TB: The pressure I feel now is less than what I felt last year. Last year, after the trials I had very high expectations for every race. The track season went well and I set a 3k, 5k, and 10k PR. After that I started to prepare for a possible run at the Olympic Games in case I was needed as an alternate. Things were great and I was really fit in the summer. I was not needed in Athens in August and so I continued to train towards the Chicago Marathon a number of weeks later. Things were still going well and I was training with my Hanson-Brooks teammates Clint Verran, Brian Sell, and Luke Humphrey. Late August or early September, I started to get a little tired. I had been fit for quite a while and it had taken its toll. I was tired and falling off in workouts and afraid of failing in my expectations for Chicago. I raced the US 20k championships in September as a tune-up race. I felt I needed to win, and beat guys I had beaten at the trials. Being tired, I fell short in New Haven at the championships. I kept gritting my teeth and shaking off the bad days, but my body was just not responding with enough energy to produce in Chicago how I had hoped. After that, I began to race again and still was feeling like I needed to win, set personal records and beat guys I had beaten at the trials every time I raced. If not, it was failure. Anyway to sum up the story, yeah, that kind of pressure did seem to affect me.
Now, I refocused on doing what I need to do to get my body fit and not necessarily focusing on whom I need to beat. I need to take care of my body and get as strong and fit as possible and the rest will be taken care of with the confidence in my preparation
RunMichigan: What type of running have you been doing knowing that you were more than likely going to be on the marathon team this summer? Did you and your coaches decide to focus on anything in particular that you or they might have felt like were places that needed improvement?
TB: I chose to focus on a speed segment this spring, expecting to be making the trip to Helsinki this summer for the marathon. I chose a speed segment because I believe that to run a faster marathon I have to work on becoming both stronger, with continued training volume, and faster, with a yearly speed segment so I don’t become stale. I figured I needed to be able to run more relaxed at a faster pace to run a faster marathon. I discussed this with my coaches, Keith and Kevin Hanson of Hanson Running Shops/Hanson’s-Brooks Distance Project and we decided to focus my improvement towards speed-oriented training for the spring. I did get a 10k PR of 28:44, my first US Nationals Track qualifying time, something I’ve been working towards since graduating college in 2001.
RunMichigan: How do you feel going into the start of your upcoming marathon-training segment?
TB: I feel good. I have been training lower volume or mileage this spring to help with my speed adjustment and I had a two week break just prior to starting my training last week. I am anxious to get back to the 120-140 mile weeks of marathon training. You just can’t help but feel fit when you run that much.
RunMichigan: What do you think it is going to feel like toeing the line with two of your everyday training partners overseas in Finland?
TB: Exciting, scary, fun, and intense! As for having Clint and Brian toeing the line with me, I think I will be calmed knowing some other runners in the race and knowing their strengths and just having some familiar surroundings when I step to the line. I will also have coaches, family and friends that will help make the experience feel more familiar to me.
Clint has been to the world championships in the marathon and has done well. He knows the experience and will be a good guide. Brian has been coming on strong this spring as a top level US performer and will be a great person to run with or chase after during the race. He is also a consistent performer and that will be an added benefit to our team. With training mates in the race it is a feeling of camaraderie that we get to take with us to Finland.
RunMichigan: How likely do you feel that the three Hanson/Brooks runners will be working together during the race? Do you think each of you will approach the race with separate goals or will it be more of a team-oriented situation and why do you feel this way?
TB: I can’t tell you that! That would be giving away team strategy to the other countries and we won’t do that until afterwards…
I can tell you though that I run for a team all year round and that we will each have individual goals. We will be very well prepared from our training and coaching. We also will have excellent preparation from the USA Track and Field Marathon Summit for the World Championships that we are having in Rochester in June. USA Track and Field is having some of the best sports doctors and scientists come in to help prepare the 5 men and 5 women going to the world championships. I attended last years Marathon Summit for the Olympics and the information is top-notch and will certainly give the US competitors an edge in Helsinki.
RunMichigan: Do you feel that you have grown as a runner this past year, and if so how and why?
TB: I do feel I am growing as a runner, especially this past year. I have learned a lot about how I put expectations on myself. I have had days were I was challenged by not being on top of my game and felt I could have done better. These are what the Hanson brothers call “bad days”. When I am falling short of my expectation on these “bad days”, it has been harder to push myself. So, I am learning to change my outlook. I want to prepare my body and mind using all of the tools I have to perform to my best on race day no matter the time. There are no “bad days” just opportunities.
RunMichigan: What advice would you give to someone who wanted to be where you are at as a runner? In a sense, how did you get where you are at currently?
TB: Believe in yourself! Human beings supposedly only use a small percentage of their capabilities
Thanks for the great interview! (Interview conducted by Nick Cordes)