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Interview: Juli Henner

Juli Henner in the mile at the 1999 TFA Pro Track & Field Meet.
(Photo by Alison Wade)

Juli Henner Bio

You probably know her best as a 1996 Olympian at 1,500m. Though she has struggled with injuries off and on since '96, her PRs of 2:00.80 (800m) and 4:06.68 (1,500m), indicate that she has what it takes to be competitive on the national and international levels.

FW: First, what are you up to these days? Are you still in D.C. training with the Reebok Enclave? How is your training going?

JH: These days, I am still trying to recover from a hamstring tear that I suffered one week before the Trials. It was unfortunate because although my chances for making the Olympic team were slim, my training was just starting to indicate that I was in 4:10 shape which would have made the final. However, I am probably the most motivated that I have ever been to come back and run my best in the spring of 2001. I am still in D.C. and have just accepted a position with the Georgetown Women's Track Team as a part-time assistant. I am so excited to be involved with college running again.

FW: You've had some problems with injuries since 1996. What have you learned from all of this? What helps you to stay positive and motivated?

JH: I have had some frustrating times with injuries. I have learned to listen to my body and train more wisely. My injuries have always come from pushing through fatigue. I have learned to be more flexible about my training. If a hard workout is scheduled for Tuesday and I am not recovered, I now have no problem speaking up and moving the workout to Wednesday. It is very difficult to stay positive at times. What keeps me going is my belief in myself. I know that I have not yet run what I am capable of running in either the 1,500 or the 800. I know that if I can string some consistent training together, I will be very competitive on both the U.S. and world levels.

FW: Are you watching the 2000 Olympics? Any feelings of nostalgia?

JH: I am watching to Olympics and would have loved to participate in them. Sydney is absolutely beautiful. I do feel nostalgic, especially as I watched the Opening Ceremonies.

FW: Who do you do most of your training with?

JH: The majority of my training is done with the Georgetown men's team. Obviously, I cannot train with the top male runners at Georgetown, but I usually train with the second or third group. I also do quite a bit of running with Cheri Kenah. We have different strengths so we really complement each other quite nicely. I am also very excited that Katie McGregor (University of Michigan) has moved to town. I look forward to some intense training with both Katie and Cheri this upcoming year.

FW: What is a typical training week like for you? (mileage, speedwork, and cross training?)

JH: My training is very dynamic although the weeks format is pretty consistent. I run anywhere from 60- 75 miles per week. I do concentrate on sprint technique quite a bit, in fact Mondays are devoted to power and speed. Tuesdays are usually interval days. Thursdays are reserved for tempos and Saturdays are usually something very intense on the track. My long runs are anywhere from 10-14 miles and are usually done on Sunday.

FW: Are you careful about the little things, like what you eat, getting enough sleep, etc.?

JH: When I am coaching, I tell my teams that I believe 90% of their success will come from what they do away from the track I believe that it is the little things that separate a good runner from a great one. I do try to recover well through sleep and nutrition. I am now working with a nutritionist to try and educate myself better in that area. I also concentrate on flexibility and weight training.

FW: You've said that when it came time to attend college, you weren't focused on being a great college runner. When did you really start to get serious about your running? What brought about the change?

JH: I think what woke me up during my college career was how badly I did my first year of college track. I did not run faster than I had in high school my freshman year of college. I really made running a priority my second year of college and I slowly saw some of my sacrifices pay off throughout college. What inspired me to continue running after college was actually going to New Orleans in 1992 to watch the Olympic Trials.

FW: How much longer do you plan on sticking with the high-level running? Is there a Masters career ahead for Juli Henner? What would you do if you weren't devoting so much time to running?

JH: I plan on running competitively as long as I am still enjoying it. Even with all my injuries, I still love to run. When I have good workouts and races, all the struggles are worth it to me. I can't even think about Masters at this point!! I think I will always be connected to running in some capacity. I love coaching. It is very rewarding to me to see runners accomplish their goals.

FW: What's the longest distance you've ever raced? (And how did you do?) Do you ever consider moving up a distance or two?

JH: The longest track race I have ever run is the 3,000. I do like that distance and wish that it was still around on an international level. My best time is 9:03. I do not plan on moving up to the 5k because I still believe I have the tools to accomplish my goals in the 1,500. However, I would like to run the 5k at Penn Relays this spring. I know a good 5k will only help my 1,500.

FW: And finally, what do you like to do when you're not running?

JH: When I am not running, I love to travel. I do travel quite a bit with running but it is so nice to be able to go to some new place and actually be able to take advantage of sightseeing and relaxing without a race looming over my head. I also enjoy reading and most of all, shopping!!

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