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Jackie Areson in Transition

posted by carabyrd, a Women Talk Sports blogger
today, June 16, 2012 at 2:05pm EDT

About carabyrd:

Cara Hawkins is a social media community manager and graduated with her masters in advertising from University of Texas. Cara is a former DII runner competing in everything from the 4x400m to Cross C...more

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Jackie Areson is on the top of many people’s list to make the 5k team for the Olympics this year. The former University of Tennessee runner is now training under Steve Magness and has some stellar results this year including running a 15:14.31 at Oxy High Performance meet earlier this season. Her most recent race in the 3000 meters at Pre has some questioning if she has peaked early even though the race was a personal record. “It really does not tell me much in terms of the 5k. I know I’ve had two really good 5ks and not so good results in the shorter distances like the mile or the 3k so I’m not worried at all” she explains.

JADealing with a disappointing race so close to the Olympic Trials can be tough and can lead to a downward spiral of negative thoughts.“ I’m just using this race as motivation and telling myself it will not happen next time. And I try to remember that feeling of how terrible it feels and go into the next race remembering that I never want to feel like that again if I can help it” Areson said. The rest of season has seen improvement and has gone more smoothly than Areson thought it would and knows she can run consistently in 15:14-15:18 range “In terms of going into the trials, I’m not overly confident because I know there are a ton of girls that can come up and they all want it as bad as me. It is just not going to be the top four or whoever has the A-Standard. There can really be anyone in the race” she explains.

Jackie Areson has improved greatly in the last two years going from 15:33 to a 15:14 and has had a good first year as a professional runner.  Though Areson says that she always knew she could run faster and it was the way the collegiate season was set up that contributed many times to her running herself into the ground but there have also been changes in training. “I have definitely changed so much in training from moving from Tennessee up to here (Oregon) with Steve Magness as my coach. I’ve been working on everything that has been my weakness which has made all the difference” she said. There has been a few items that have stayed the same including the friendships that began at the University of Tennessee that have been brought over to the pro running world with many of the women working with the same agent out of Knoxville. “We are a big family still and it is really nice to see them at the big meets. I’ll see them at the trials which I am really excited about. They really help me have fun and not worry about running” Areson explains.

Last year moving from Tennessee to Oregon was not difficult especiallyJA2sinceAreson has moved several times. She was born in Hong Kong before moving to Florida. But there were still a few obstacles and the transition from college runner to professional runner was not quite what Areson expected it to be. “It was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be” she continues, “When I first came out here my training was going very well but it was right after indoor season and I have always had trouble peaking indoors and overtraining a bit. And I think that is what happened last year” she goes on to explain, “It is hard to go through, when training is going well and you don’t understand why your racing isn’t. That was really hard for me because I never felt it made any sense when collegiates go pro and say the transition is really hard but for some reason it just is” she finished. This was even harder for Areson who describes herself as more of a racer than a trainer.

One of the major lessons she learned was to relax and not be as high strung about splits and paces. She does not even wear a watch during work-outs but instead has her coach pace her through the work-out.  Oftentimes, she does not even have him tell her the pace. Areson has left the watch behind for a few races. “It is the one thing that I think that has made a difference for me and that’s really cool” she said.

Her coach, Steve Magness, is fairly new to the Oregon Project and known in the world of running as pretty scientific minded and Areson could not be more pleased with him. Magness also coaches Lindsay Allen and Tommy Schmitz.

“I feel really lucky to have him and I always joke, even though it is the truth, if he can’t coach me no one can because he is an amazing coach. He just works so hard and he doesn’t have that many athletes so the ones that he does have he puts all his time and energy into. Many people think how hard can it be to coach two or three athletes but it takes all of his time and he does so much research.” She explains but goes on to say, “ He does put a lot of science into it but he doesn’t base everything off of all science. He bases everything off of who you are as an athlete, your personality and how you respond to everything. So it is just not coaching, not just running, it is how your life is as an athlete and as a person. He puts that all into your training” she states.

Jackie Areson has learned a few lessons as a first year professional that have contributed to this great season. For those looking into running professionally she has some wisdom, “Don’t go where the glamour is or where you think other people are running fast just because where certain people are running fast under certain coaches does not mean you will. You really have to look into coaches who are going to fit your personality more than how good of a coach they are” she goes on to say, “Just know it is going to be hard.”

You can watch Jackie Areson at the U.S. Olympic trials starting on June 24th in the qualifying round of the 5k. You can follow her online @JackieAreson

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There is 1 comment on this post. Join the discussion!

glien says:

Nice article. Tiny error "Oftentimes, she does now even have him tell her the pace."

Sunday, June 17, 2012 at 5:18pm EDT

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