While it’s not everyday that we’re able to chat with an aspiring professional runner and pick their brain about their training and racing, we were fortunate to be able to talk with Jerrell Mock and ask him about his training and racing – as well as his favorite type of microbrew!
As an aspiring professional runner who had a stellar collegiate career, do you still get nervous before big races and if so, how do you combat your nerves?
I still get very nervous before almost every race, no matter how big or small. I don’t know that I’ve found a sure way to combat nerves, but often times thinking back on the hard workouts leading up to the race that I was able to excecute well helps me to maintain some confidence and trust in my fitness. Beyond that, I just try to use the nerves to run faster. Sometimes being nervous gives me just the adrenaline spike I need to make a hard move or go with a pack in the middle of a race rather than let it drop me.
Whether you’re a weekend warrior like ourselves, or an elite runner like yourself, pushing your limits is often required to perform at your desired level. Do you have a strategy when you’re fatigued and/or at your limit in a race to keep going?
When fatigue starts to hit in the middle of the race I just try to remember all the work that went into preparing for the race and how I don’t want it to all be for nothing. My perspective is that the point of a race is to push yourself to the upper limits of your fitness which will always hurt no matter what – so when things start to hurt that means your doing what you sought out to do and your doing it right.
Furthermore, whether it seems like it or not, often times when you start to hurt the people around you are hurting too. I try to think that every minute that I can keep pushing through the discomfort could be the minute that breaks some of the competitors around me. Often times when people start to fall away from you, you can find a second wind to keep pushing even deeper.
What workout types do you personally find most important for improving your running speed?
The workouts that I consider to be the foundation of good fitness are hill repeats, fartleks, and tempos – all in combination with running as many miles a week as you can consistently handle for 3-4 back to back weeks. More structured interval workouts on the track or elsewhere can be good for fine-tuning your speed, but in my opinion won’t get you far if you don’t first have a good foundation of miles, hills, fartleks, and tempos. Strength alone can get you some surprising results even if you haven’t polished up your speed work.
Do you train with any sort of technology (ex: GPS watch, HR monitor, etc…) and if so, what do you use and how important of a role is it in your overall running program?
My coach and I try to keep running as simple as possible and generally I’ll just use a standard stop watch. Occasionally I’ll use a GPS watch if I’m running a new route just so I know how far I’ve gone, but I try not to obsess over pace on recovery days. GPS can also be helpful for tempo runs so you can keep track of mile splits. I’ve never done any of my training with a heart rate monitor though.
What types of things do you do to help you recover between training sessions and after races (ex: ice bath, recovery boots, etc…)
I could definitely be better about using more recovery techniques, although I’ve been lucky to remain pretty healthy regardless this far. I mostly just use a foam roller and occasionally use ”normatech” boots or massage to work out some aches and pains. I very rarely ice bath, mostly because I hate being cold, but they can be very effective and are something I should probably do more often.
My weekly mileage varies depending on whether I’m in a base building phase or preparing for races. Often my peak base building weeks are 100-110 miles a week. With frequent racing, the range usually dips between about 70 (race week) and 95 (week or two before a race).
I generally never cross train unless I’m injured or coming back from injury and need to supplement the miles I am not able to run. This has happened a couple times and I’ll often use an underwater treadmill to run the miles I can’t do on land if I have a weight bearing related injury.
As we can only imagine how rigorous your training schedule must be, what non-running things do you do to relax?
Outside of running I have a few hobbies that I really enjoy including ceramics/pottery, fly fishing, playing music (guitar and banjo), and camping/backpacking.
What have you found the biggest challenges to be in regard to turning pro?
The biggest challenge so far has been getting leads on how to earn an arrangement with a sponsor. As far as I am aware, it’s not as simple as running a certain time in an event and getting a sponsor, although I’m new enough to the post collegiate world I that this is still something I’m trying to navigate.In the meantime, my hopes are to continue running as many well known road races as I can to try and compete with elite athletes who are sponsored and do everything they are doing. Hopefully in time something will come up. Mostly I am just grateful that my college coach, Art Siemers, is still willing to work with me and that I have great training partners. At the end of the day, those are the most important things to helping me run fast.
What are your PR’s?
10 mile: 47:29
Half Marathon: 1:02:15
4 x NCAA division I All-American
OK… last (non-running related) question. As you live in the microbrew paradise of Ft Collins, Colorado – IPA or Lager?