LRC Q&A: Ahead of Her Mile at Millrose, Katelyn Tuohy Talks About Training With (And Beating) The Boys & Which Pro Runners She Admires
By Jonathan Gault
February 7, 2019
On Thursday, Katelyn Tuohy of North Rockland High School was named the Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year, receiving her award at her school’s library. In the process, she became the first girl to win the award twice and has now won a total of four Gatorade athlete of the year awards — two in cross country, one in track & field, as well as the overall Female Athlete of the Year award in 2018, which is given to the top athlete across all sports (softball, volleyball, soccer, basketball, cross country, and track & field).
While Tuohy received the award for her cross country exploits — she broke course records at Goddard Park, Holmdel Park, Bowdoin Park, and Glendoveer Golf Course en route to a second consecutive Nike Cross Nationals title last fall — she is already back to breaking records on the track in 2019. On January 26, she ran 9:01.81 at the Dr. Sander Invitational to break Mary Cain‘s US indoor high school record, and this weekend she’ll return to the Armory to run the high school mile at the Millrose Games. That race was the scene of Tuohy’s last defeat to a high school runner — she was 4th a year ago in 4:47.10 — but with an outdoor personal best of 4:33.87, Tuohy will be heavily favored to stand atop the podium on Saturday.
LetsRun.com caught up with Tuohy briefly in a phone interview after she received her award from Gatorade on Thursday. She talked about this weekend’s race, which professional runners she admires, and training with (and sometimes beating) the boys on her team during workouts.
LRC: Millrose, you’re running the mile this weekend. Do you have a time goal in mind for that race?
So are you just going for the win? What’s the plan for that one?
I really don’t have a plan. Just going to go down there, see how I feel and try to run a good race.
Last weekend was the USA Cross Country Championships, and the U20 race, if you had run that you could have qualified and run World XC. Did you guys ever think about trying to run World XC, did you have any interest in that? Why decide to do an indoor season instead?
No, we never discussed that. After finishing normal cross country season, I was ready to transition to track season. So I really had no interest in going down there and running that race.
Which of the three seasons is your favorite between cross, indoor, and outdoor?
Probably cross country.
Why is that?
Probably just because it’s really good team dynamics. Varsity is only seven girls so by the end of the season, you get really close and it’s a lot of fun.
How much time did you take off after winning NXN?
Just a week.
You already broke the 3k record a few weeks ago in New York. Did it feel like it was a quick return to racing for you, or did you feel like you had enough time to recharge and take time off?
I felt prepared when I ran the 3k. I’ve been training for over a month now, so I felt like I was well-prepared for it.
But when you get back from training after a week off, did you feel like you had totally recharged from that? Or did you feel like it was a quick turnaround at all? What was it like getting back to training after cross country?
I didn’t feel like I lost fitness or recharged. In the middle of the season, I hurt my knee so I took some time off from that, so I really didn’t feel like I needed a big break. So after a week, I was kind of just feeling the same.
Do you have a favorite runner or a runner you look up to?
There’s a bunch of different runners that I look up to for a bunch of different things. Shalane Flanagan after winning the New York City Marathon, that was inspiring. But just a bunch of other runners. Molly Huddle and Colleen Quigley, they are really adamant about talking about women in running and everything and I feel like they’re really inspiring.
What’s your favorite workout?
I don’t know. I like them all, I guess. Probably the more volume stuff, more distance. Those are the workouts I tend to do better in, so when we’re training with the boys, I get to sometimes beat them. It’s pretty funny.
How often do you beat the boys in workouts?
Not too often. If we’re doing longer stuff like 800’s or 1000’s maybe, but anything shorter they definitely have better turnover than me.
What’s the longest workout that you do?
I mean, I guess if you consider a long run a workout, then that would be my longest workout.
Right, but in terms of intervals, stuff like that, what’s the longest you’ll do for those?
It’s hard to tell, because every workout’s different. If you consider a tempo run before a workout an interval…I don’t really know if I should be sharing this because I don’t know if my coach would want me to talk about this.
Any plans to race the pros again anytime again this season?
I don’t know. Maybe in the spring.
Do you have any definitive races coming up against pros that you guys have already committed to, or is that still up in the air?
No, it’s still up in the air.
Any races — meets or different distances that you haven’t done yet that really want to get an opportunity to do, either in the winter or the spring?
I would definitely like to run another 5k. I’ve run 3ks and miles, so definitely get a fast 1500 in too.
You’ve broken a lot of records, you’ve had a lot of success in cross country. When we write articles, it’s natural to compare you to the women who came before you and the times they ran. Do you compare yourself to them, to Mary Cain or Alexa Efraimson? Are you aware of the times they run? How do you manage that?
No, I don’t compare myself to anyone else because every runner is different as an individual. Different things work for them and everything, so it’s really hard to compare, I think.
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