The Road to Beijing: Katie McGregor
During the lead-up to the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Team Trials this June, USATF Minnesota will present interviews with Minnesota’s top Olympic prospects. We're calling the series “The Road to Beijing.”
In this installment, USA Track & Field Minnesota contributor Chad Austin speaks with Team USA Minnesota’s Katie McGregor about her preparation for Eugene 2008. At the time of this interview, McGregor had just returned from Edinburgh, Scotland where she finished 22nd in the World Cross Country Championships.
McGregor at the 2008 World Cross Country Championships. Photo by Sean Hartnett.
Austin: As a fan, it’s nice to see you racing a lot lately. Is there a different “feel” to 2008 since it’s an Olympic year? How does your training/competing/focus change as the Trials draw closer?
McGregor: I decided to race more this year, especially in March, to get through the weather funk. I also feel that competing more is a good strategy for my fitness overall. It has worked well for me in the past.
Austin: What meets do you plan on competing in leading up to the Trials?
McGregor: I am not setting anything in stone yet, but I will most likely stick to track races. I plan on running 5Ks and maybe a 10K at Stanford.
Austin: In addition to the physical training, you have to be mentally tough to make the Olympic team. How do you prepare yourself mentally?
McGregor: I focus mostly on the physical aspect of training. Knowing that I can run the times I need to in practice gives me confidence. Toughness will be a factor for everyone. This opportunity only comes around once every four years and everyone believes they have a shot at the team.
Austin: No sense beating around the bush, what do you think your chances are of making the team?
McGregor: I wouldn’t dedicate my life to training if I didn’t believe in myself. I believe I will make the team.
Austin: Obviously, there’s a lot of pressure in making the Olympic team. Outside of training, what do you like to do to keep from going crazy?
McGregor: There is a lot of pressure, and I put pressure on myself all the time for races. I try to focus on all the great things running brings to my life—friends, traveling, fitness, and a lifestyle most people dream of living.
Austin: How has the distance running scene in the U.S. changed since the last trials?
McGregor: Distance running is flourishing now that we have training groups like Team USA Minnesota and medal winners in the distance events. I think most U.S. runners think they are just as capable of winning a medal as the next person. Once one person does it, we all want to do it and believe we can. I hope we continue to push each other to our limits and beyond.
Austin: What has being a part of Team USA Minnesota meant to you, personally and professionally?
McGregor: I think that having the opportunity to work with Dennis Barker and some of the best runners in the country and world have definitely given me confidence in my running. I am extremely lucky to have the support of our sponsors, team doctors, Director Pat Goodwin, and my teammates.