Craig helping push the pace at Arcadia. (Photo by Margot Kelly)
Welcome to Track Chats 2012! We continue with distance-ace Craig Nowak from Cypress Woods HS in Texas. Craig recently popped a big breakthrough with an 8:49.12 PR over 3200m at the Arcadia Invitational, placing 3rd. Craig is in great shape so watch out for him this season! Check out what he has to say below!
MileSplit - Sub-8:50 and a very nice kick in the 3200m. It looked like you could have run them down with a little more track. Anything you would have done differently in the last 2 laps?
Craig - If I could redo the last two laps I would have definitely made it an effort to go with Futsum and Bernie's surge at 600m. It seems everytime I let a guy go on a surge, I almost always run them all the way down in the last 200m, and find myself wishing I would have answered the surge and been in much better contention for the win.
MileSplit - 16 of you broke 9:00 and 40 some were under 9:20 at Arcadia. Do you feel like distance running is getting the bar raised at the HS level? How do you feel about being a part of this change in attitudes about what is possible?
Craig - I think the bar is for sure being raised on the high school level. The times of the top guys hasn't changed a whole lot over the past years but the depth of talent has tremendously. It feels great to be a part in this and being able to see first hand how much the sport is growing in popularity and ability.
MileSplit - When & how did you get started in track & field?
Craig - I started competing in track in 7th grade. I found myself doing well in various fitness tests at school so I decided to give it a shot and see how it goes.
MileSplit - Person/people most influential to your success in track & field?
Craig - My parents, coaches, and teammates have all been very influential for me over the years. Their continuing support, encouragement, and vision for me has always made me keep wanting to push onward. Also, all the great oppurtunities to participate and get invited to big events has really helped in influencing my training, and giving me big goals to work towards.
MileSplit - Your favorite track & field event(s)?
Craig - I would have to say that the mile is my favorite event in track. I love how it lets me test my speed and has a whole different feel then the longer distance races.
MileSplit - Your track & field event coach(es) and what they mean to you?
Craig - My coach is a big part in everything about what I do. It means alot because it is so nice to be able to collaborate both of our ideas about different training and come up with workouts and a system that really fits me well.
MileSplit - Keys to your successful track & field training program?
Craig - The key to my successful training program I feel is the combination of long aerobic workouts mixed with alot of short, anaerobic speed workouts. It seems that it has helped to get through the core of the race and still be able to have a strong kick at the end to go for the W.
MileSplit - Your favorite track & field meet?
Craig - That is a very tough question... originally I would have said the Brooks PR meet, but the Arcadia Invitational this week was just one of a kind. They are both very different both have their awesome things about them. Mainly what I like is just the extreme high caliber competition.
MileSplit - Your favorite performance in track & field?
Craig - I would say its a tie between the Arcadia 3200 this last week and the Texas State 1600 Championship last year. Arcadia was awesome because how intense and fast pace the race got, and a 25 second PR. The State 1600 really was just a suprise win for me and got me out on the map.
MileSplit - Track & field athlete(s) you most enjoy competing against?
Craig - I really like competing against Futsum and also Jake Leingang. They both have very similar racing strategies as mine in the fact that they go out at a steady pace and progressively start picking it up.
MileSplit - Your greatest experience in track & field so far?
Craig - My greatest experience in track is the national meets that require some traveling and adjusting to different environments. I feel that it really gives you a good look into the everyday life of the pros and what they go through.
MileSplit - Goals for the 2012 track & field season?
Craig - My biggest goal time-wise is to go sub-4 in the mile this year, and get an invite to the Dream Mile. If there is another good race opportunity, I would also like to try and go 8:45 in the 2 mile.
MileSplit - Long-term goals in track & field?
Craig - My long-term goals are to get an NCAA title, make an Olympic team, have a long, healthy professional career, and glorify God along the way!
The Fun Run
Do you like ice cream or italian ice…
Craig - Ice cream
Do you like shorts or jeans…
Craig - Shorts
Do you like Boggle or Twister…
Craig - Twister
Do you like Facebook or Twitter...
Craig - Twitter (@CraigNowak)
Do you like going out or chilling at home...
Craig - Going out
Do you like sun or snow...
Craig - Sunshine!