Austin O’Brien was a standout runner for Pleasant Valley High School, a large class school on the eastern border of Iowa. He has been a standout runner going back to his days as a middle school runner when he set state middle school records in several middle-distance events. Austin is now coached by Tom ‘Tinman’ Schwartz as he has transitioned to the roads, and specifically the marathon. In February, Austin competed at the Olympic Trials in Atlanta. I recently reached out to him to get his thoughts on the suspension of races around the globe and how he plans to move forward with his training.

Question 1: What is your training like with most races being postponed or suspended?

Answer: My current training is starting to build up again after the Trials. With many races getting canceled, this is a great opportunity for quality and consistency. I’m currently getting a great balance of workouts at different paces and durations.

Question 2: What is your favorite workout to do alone, at or away from the track?

Answer: I love Fartlek training because you can do it anywhere and it’s all effort based. My favorite fartleks are short bursts (60-90 sec) at 3k/5k effort with equal or less jogging recovery.

Question 3: What advice do you have for anyone out there struggling to stay motivated?

Answer: It’s all about how you view this situation! Is it a detriment that brings you down, or an opportunity to become a better athlete? This time excites me because I get to spend weeks focusing on the process and getting myself to the next level. When races return, I’ll be that much more ready!

Best of luck to Austin as he trains and looks forward to returning to racing when the time comes!