Grant Fisher Q&A: “I certainly exceeded my overall expectations. This was a dream year. For an American, things don’t often go too much better than this.”

September 15, 2022

LRC Note: The following was provided by Grant Fisher’s management team –

It’s been quite the year for Grant Fisher. The 25-year-old has made giant strides across a range of distances, clocking an American indoor 5000m record in Boston in February of 12:53.73. He followed that with an American record over 10,0000m in March, clocking 26:33.84 in San Juan Capistrano. The progress continued in the summer, with Fisher lowering his 1500m PB to 3:35.53 before going close to medals over two distances at the World Championships in Oregon – finishing sixth in the 5000m and fourth in the 10,000m. Fisher returned to action in Monaco in August, breaking the American 3000m record by running 7:28.48 to finish third. At the Brussels Diamond League in early September, he smashed the American 5000m record by running 12:46.96 to finish second. He rounded out his season with a third-place finish at the Diamond League final in Zurich, clocking 13:00.56 on the oversized track in the city center.

In the below Q&A, he looks back at a special year and at what lies ahead.

When you look back at your year, how well did it match up to or exceed your goals?

It exceeded everything. From the beginning of the year, my main goal was to try and get a medal, so I did come up short of that so that goal will carry over to next year, but as a whole, with times and placing and being competitive on a global level, I made some really big steps this year. I certainly exceeded my overall expectations. This was a dream year. For an American, things don’t often go too much better than this so it’s going quite well.

Grant Fisher ran 12:53 indoors this year

Had you set specific times or records you hoped to hit at the start of the season?

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Not any specific time goals. I thought I could run pretty quick, I wanted to break 13 minutes at some point in my career but I hadn’t done it until this year, so I managed to get pretty well under the barrier. That was a very historic number to try get under so that’d be the only one. I was hoping to hit a few Diamond League races and compete, try to be at the front and try to win those races. I had three Diamond League races and was third, second and third in them, so that went pretty well.

When you look back at the World Championships, was there anything you would do differently in those races?

Yeah, right after World Championships I was pretty frustrated and in the weeks after I started to realize that fourth and sixth is quite good still, and I did a lot of things right. I was focusing on a lot of the negatives but there were a lot of positives to take out. I’ll still think about the 5K, about the last 150 meters and positioning, wanting to be in a better spot, maybe being on the outside shoulder and not the inside shoulder when you have 150 to go and there’s traffic. I have things to learn and some of those lessons are needed at the highest stage, they sink in a bit better, and hopefully I can take that into next year.

Was it clear from your training in the spring that you were ascending to a new level in terms of workouts you were hitting?

Yeah, completely. I’ve been hitting workouts I’ve never been able to hit before and I knew I was in PR shape but sometimes it’s hard to project exactly what those times would be just based on workouts. I knew I’d been training really well, I’d been hanging with guys like Mo (Ahmed), who have proven themselves on a global stage so when you have that, it boosts the confidence a lot.

In terms of volume, what’s normal for you in training?

I guess another aspect of training is that I had the most mileage of my life this year. I was running 100 miles a week pretty consistently. That helped, as long as you can stay healthy and not overcook it too much. I’m feeling stronger now, I can hit good workouts and have good volume, not beat myself into a hole like I might have done earlier in my career, so those are all good feelings and good indicators you’re getting strong.

Looking back to Brussels and that 12:46 5000m, what was your hope going into that race?

My hope was to get the American record, that was my main goal. The 12:53 stood for quite a long time. Bernard (Lagat) has a lot of very strong records and that wasn’t one I was going to take lightly. I knew a lot of things had to go right but I thought on an absolute perfect day I could run low 12:50s, maybe just under the record, but no way I could have predicted 12:46. So many things had to go right for something like that to happen whether it’s temperature, pacing, someone pushing the race once the rabbits drop out, no big surges – a lot has to go right and it did that night. So that exceeded my expectations, 100%.

And then to Zurich, and that strange course for the Diamond League final: how do you reflect on that third-place finish?

I was pretty proud of that one. That race was five days after Brussels so I was carrying fatigue into the race. I felt really bad from the gun. I did my best to rally and reel those guys back in at the end. It kind of felt like we were on a roller derby, a little bit of a rollercoaster, but it was a new experience. Everything was unfamiliar, from the track to the strange weather. Lightning was striking as we were running. It was certainly an untraditional track race but it was enjoyable. I got to race guys I want to beat going forward so it’s always good experience to be out there with them.

Fisher had some ground to make in the final 100 in his 10,000 AR race.

How much time will you take off running for your break?

I’ll be away from formal workouts for about a month, maybe a month and a half. I like to sprinkle runs into the break and not take massive chunks of time with zero runs, but I’ll probably run two or three times a week, maybe 20 minutes, for the next two or three weeks and then get back into it. I like to really shut the mind off and not think about running for a while so by the end of the break, you’re begging to get back into training. That’s the way I like to start out the season.

Given Jerry Schumacher’s appointment at the University of Oregon, do you know how it will work and how much you’ll see him through the fall and winter?

That’s to be determined. There’s a lot of things that will have to be adjusted and this will be a transition because Jerry hasn’t done this before, where he has a full-on pro club as well as being director of a university team. I’m hopeful everything will work out and we’ll have the best of Jerry and U of O will have the best of Jerry as well.

As you look to 2023, is it all about trying to win a world medal?

I wouldn’t say it’s medals or bust but the goal is to medal – 100%. I’ve run some quick times now, I think I’m at the fitness level to compete with the best in the world but until you do it on the day and get a medal, they’re just times, they’re just numbers. So much of this sport is championship-based and that’s a piece that I’m missing right now so that’s the goal: get some medals.

Who’s the better runner: Grant Fisher or Pre? Grant Fisher was a big topic on this week’s podcast? We’ve got a video clip of the discussion below on whether he is a better runner than Steve Prefontaine. Full podcast here on your favorite podcast player.

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