Exclusive Interview: Kara Goucher

She’s a two-time Olympian - currently training to return AGAIN! - and a three-time NCAA champion. In addition to her incredible running accomplishments, professional athlete Kara Goucher is also a mom and wife and one of the sport’s most popular bloggers. Although she’s quite busy preparing for the Olympic 10k trials, we managed to catch up with Kara when she was recently in NYC to teach a guest class at MHRC. Read on to learn what her best racing experience has been, what it was REALLY like to train with Coach Mark Wetmore and why she enjoys treadmill training!

What do you love most about the marathon?

  • I love that it is open to everyone. So many people can share in the experience of the marathon. And those who have run one understand the strength it takes to finish. It bonds people together in a way that is unique and special.

When did you realize that you had a gift?

  • Probably when I qualified for the Footlocker National Cross Country Championships in 1994 as a sophomore in HS. At that point I had already won state titles, but when I qualified I was flown to California and put up in a hotel. I raced the national championship against the best 32 girls in the country and I realized that running was going to take me places.

When did you decide to pursue running professionally?

  • My sophomore year of college I finished second in the 3,000 meters at the NCAA National Outdoor Track and Field Championships. That’s when I started thinking that I could maybe win a national title and perhaps chase a professional career.

What would you consider your best racing experiences or highlights of your career so far?

  • Hmm, this is a tough question. Certainly the races I have won have been memorable. Winning my first national title in 2008 at the Olympic Trials in the 5,000 was very special. Not only was it my first national title, but it qualified me for the Olympics and my entire family was there watching. Obvious highlights would also include winning a bronze medal at the World Track and Field Championships in the 10,000meters or running 66:57 in my debut half-marathon. But I really treasure all of my races. Finishing fourth last weekend and missing the Olympic Team by one spot has been very difficult, but it might be a career highlight for me. Simply because I put so much into the race and I left it all out there on the course.

Our readers would love to hear about your race goals over the next two years. Do you mind sharing what your plans are?

  • More running and racing. I’m still keeping the hope alive to compete in my third Olympic Games and will be trying to qualify later this summer in the 10,000 meters. I also want to try for a marathon PR, either in Berlin or London.

Many runners have read "Running with the Buffaloes". What was training with Mark Wetmore like in college? How does it feel to be back with him and Heather now?

  • Training under Mark in college was a bit intimidating. But we had a very good relationship. Being back now has been different. I am a grown adult with a child. There is so much respect between the two of us, but I no longer am intimidated by him. Heather was my teammate back in college, but I have really enjoyed having her as a coach. They make a great team and I’ve loved being back with them.

What are the benefits of training on the treadmill in your opinion?

  • For me the treadmill is great when I am traveling or the ground is slippery outside. I am a person who needs fresh air on a daily basis, so the treadmill is not my first choice. But it has saved me more times than I care to admit. There certainly are benefits such as good footing and knowing exactly how far and fast you are going.