Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Andrew Lemoncello Interview

Andrew Lemoncello of Fife athletic club once worked part time as a waiter to support his running but now trains professionally out of Flagstaff Arizona. He has twice ran the 3000m steeplechase at the world athletics championships as well as the 2008 summer Olympics. His recent marathon debut in London impressed everyone but himself and in my opinion he will prove to be the best British distance runner of his generation.

Andrew, 8th and first European at the 2010 London Marathon with a 2:13:40 on debut you must be very happy?

I was actually very disappointed with the run as it became more of a solo training run than an all out race. I ran the last 15 miles of the race on my own which, in a marathon, is very hard when you are trying to run a good time. You can get away with it in shorter distances but not 26.2 miles. I have taken confidence from it though as I now know that I can run 2.13 on my own. London was always going to be my first marathon as it is on home soil and its one of the best in the world. I thought I was in sub 2.10 shape but my target was around 2.10 based the workouts I had been doing.

I actually had a pace maker who was supposed to take me through 20 miles at 2.10.30 pace and the plan was to push hard from there but he was only able to last 10 miles before he faded. I actually knew before hand that the pace maker wasn’t up to the job so I was ready mentally to run the second half on my own.

Right after the race I was really upset. I actually had a little cry on my mum’s shoulders because I had dedicated so much time and effort into running fast on my debut.

My legs didn’t hurt at all and even the days afterwards, I was fine. I was actually more sore 2 weeks after when I did a long run at the Grand Canyon.

It’s no secret you train hard putting in big miles in Flagstaff Arizona but it was not always like that?

Its funny actually because when I was a young runner in the Fife AC group, we would run up to 2 hours in the Lomonds. It was something I didn’t ever think about then because I enjoyed it so much. There was a bunch of young kids and the older runners also so we just ran around the hills, joking and mucking around. I guess that set me up well for handling the many miles you have to put in if you want to be a successful distance runner.

My two coaches at Fife AC, Dave Francis and Ron Morrison, really instilled good training values into me from an early age so I have been able to take that into my professional career and use it to my advantage. I took a scholarship at Florida State University and that helped me to believe that I could be a good runner as I improved a lot while I was there.

I was able to make that extra step from mediocre to good athlete because the American collegiate system is very professional and its all about making the athlete the best they can be. You have all the facilities that you need to become successful. I love the lifestyle out here in America as sports is such a big part of the culture. People understand when you say you are a professional runner where as in Scotland people don’t know that you can do that. Luckily my running career allows me to travel back to the UK 2 or 3 times a year so I always spend some time in St Andrews.

Your talent is clearly backed up with ambition and determination, where do you see yourself going with your running?

My motivation comes from wanting to be the best I can be. I am motivated most by my own personal performances and knowing what that feeling of running well is like. For me, there isn’t a better feeling than that. A good performance motivates me to keep working hard and perform well again and a bad performance reminds me of how much work I need to do so I don’t feel like that again.

My next big goal is a marathon in the Autumn. I will take my memories from London into every workout and use that to push myself hard. Hopefully from there I can qualify for the 2012 Olympics and run well in London.

You’ve ran around the world a recorded some great results is there any events that stand out?

I think the races I did as a kid with Fife AC really stand out as we were such a close team. The elders and youngsters getting on really well and the national cross country was always a highlight as we would always have a good time together afterwards. I also love competing in Japan. I was born there and every time I go back I always enjoy myself.

If you had a time machine what advice would you travel back to tell your younger self?

I would probably make sure that my training was more consistent. I would always take a day off here or there but that isn’t how you get better. I always had to go all out in every workout and that was also a little detrimental to my development. I know now that taking a step back can help me take two steps forward, especially now that I am doing marathon training.

Do you have a favorite quote?

Everyday out there are runners who fail to listen to conventional wisdom. They ignore the odds, and they push on believing one day they’ll make it. They accept that even if they don’t conquer the world, they can collapse out on the roads with blood in their shoes knowing they gave it their best shot. (Source unknown)

For an insight in to the life of a top level elite runner you can follow Andrews blog. Andrew would also like to thank sponsors Mizuno running for their support.