Wednesday, January 21, 2015

An interview with TCNJ athlete, Allison Fournier

5th Place, NJAC Championships
Today, as my first interview, I will be sharing my sit down with collegiate runner, Allison Fournier.  As a freshman at The College of New Jersey, Allison is currently in her indoor track season following a successful cross country season.  Later on this year, she will follow with a spring season of track as well.  I will let Allison tell you a bit about herself shortly, but first some of her accomplishments:

High school:
Allison was a First Team All League selection in the Big North Conference 3 times for Cross Country.

She was a First and/or Second Team selection in indoor/outdoor track six different times in High School.

As a senior, Allison was All-Passaic County for her 2013-2014 Senior Year.

In addition to the athletic awards, Allison received academic awards while at Wayne Valley as well as a Consumer Science Scholarship.

As a freshman at TCNJ, she earned Rookie of the Week honors for the New Jersey Athletic Conference three times.  She also followed up with NJAC Rookie of  the year punctuated by a 5th place finish out of 97 runners at the Conference Championship.  She was first freshman at the Conference Championship as well.

Lets hear from Allison herself as we discuss where she started, where she is, and where she hopes to go in the future.

--Hi Allison, thanks for sitting down with me for the Daily Fitness Journal.  I look forward to talking running with you and learning more about you that I can share with my readers.

Thanks for the opportunity, I love to talk about running too so it should be fun.

--So Allison, can you give me a sense of how you found your way into running and what you did when you were younger?

Sure, I was always into sports, starting from a young age. Encouraged by my parents, I played a variety of team sports. I mainly played soccer and lacrosse during my middle school years along with always playing outside with the neighborhood kids. Looking back now, I was always into the running and conditioning parts of practices and games.  When everyone else was kind of dreading doing the sprints or running, I was happy to be doing it.  I guess that was a beginning to me running.  Truly, my parents were really supportive of me and whatever I wanted to do.  I think in addition to that, I had some early conversations with a couple of my older cousins that sort of pointed me into the direction of running.

I knew that I did not really want to play soccer in high school but I thought I was going to stay with lacrosse. I had talked to my cousins Brian and Lauren, both former high school and college runners at the time, and they both suggested I give running a try. They believed I would enjoy it and had the potential to really excel.   They helped me early on and brought me to buy my first official pair of running sneakers… and thats how it started.

I ran cross country as a freshman, but still played lacrosse that year.  After the season and having done well in cross country, I decided to move away from lacrosse and I added spring track as a sophomore.  Then as a junior, I added winter track and became a 3 season runner.

--That transition, as it developed, really committed you completely to running over the course of a couple years.  Now, as a 3 sport collegiate runner as well, you give a lot to running.  Do you feel like running gives back to you as much as you put in?  Besides the obvious fitness and health benefits, does running give back to you?

For me personally, running does give back a lot. I continuously feel that I am getting out what I put in everyday. I really enjoy running for the simple act it is.  Just the idea of being able to go for a run or do a workout in the morning and know I have already started the day and accomplished something is fulfilling.  It mentally makes me feel better.  I read an article recently that discussed the idea if everyone in the world were to run, it would tremendously improve health across the board, both physically and mentally.  I know I get those benefits personally. The recreational runs I do are even more fun than my workouts sometimes.  I like to take off my watch sometimes and not even worry about how fast Im going or what my times are; just running is great.  It becomes a family in college as well.  We are together all the time as teammates, but also really as friends.

--You mentioned the watch and times.  As far as goals, thing you want to accomplish, etc., how do you see your goals for the running seasons/sports?  Would you say you are time oriented or are you looking for this place or that?  Do you have aspirations as being a certain runner for the team?

Overall, I really focus more on hitting times and having goals based on times I want to achieve. Although I always have these personal goals in the back of my mind, each race is an opportunity to contribute to the team. This means going out there and placing as well as possible against the competition. Depending on what the weather is during a cross country meet, time may go out the window in tough conditions and then its just about getting ahead of as many runners as you can. Track meets, like heading into this winter season, can be about simply getting out early in the season and competing with the other girls, and just getting some racing and speed under your belt.  Later in the season, coaches will work with us to perform more for times.

--As far as your coaching and their plans/goals set up for you, how is your training devised?  Do you have a lot to do with that?  Do the coaches take care of all that?

My coaches are tremendous athletes themselves, and they work with each of us to maximize our personal performances that will in turn contribute to the success of the whole team. As far a training goes, we talked about training a lot before the summer and set me up with a plan that is based on my events and also that I am a freshman.  They devised a whole workout for me taking into account the three sports, building up in each sport for that season, and recovering a bit at the beginning of the season so I peak near the end.  I really leave the training up to the coaches.  They are professionals and set the times to hit in workouts and I feel very comfortable with them.  I know I can always talk and adjust my training if need be. Having them there across the whole year is great too because they know what I have done and what is working for me.

--As a freshman, you certainly have at least three years of running ahead, maybe more professionally, depending on where your training and times take you.  Beyond that, do you see yourself a runner after all this?  Will you be a weekend warrior racing 5Ks and running a lot?

I am definitely always going to be a runner.  I love to run.  After college, I could see myself stepping away from the competing for awhile.  I would like to try a mud run or obstacle courses.  I have friends that have done those and even some of the cooperative races might be fun to try.  I cant really do that while I am training for races at this time, but in the future I would like to.  Along with trying these different events, I’m sure I’ll eventually compete in other races down the line. This will be an opportunity to try different races, compete with fellow runners, and have fun. I can’t wait to see what kind of adventures my running journey will take me on.

--Well Allison, I want to thank you for sitting down with me.  It has certainly been a pleasure and good luck moving forward with the winter, tomorrows meet in New York, and the coming season.

 Thank you for having me, I can always talk about running!

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