Renee and 2010

Tonight Renee Metivier Baillie will run 15 laps around a 200m track (elevation 5,300 ft.) at the 2010 USATF Indoor Championships. She may win, she may get dead last – heck, she may even DNF – but regardless of the outcome I am confident that 2010 is going to be a solid year for her. This is simply one race of many and while I sincerely hope she races great and has a “break out race” all I really care about is that she competes. But tonight’s race isn’t just one day in 2010 and if you have a moment I’ll share how I view tonight’s race in the context of Renee’s career.

2010 is just two months old, yet she’s already had a nice year. She ran well in her half marathon debut and two weeks ago she made fourth US Cross Country team by finishing fifth and all of the top finishers plan to race in Poland at the end of march. She’s racing a lot and while I doubt she will race this much in years 2011 and 2012, the reason we’re doing it is simple. She’s fit and her workouts are going well, yet she’s lacking a bit of that killer instinct that comes when an athlete has been successful and is confident. So that’s why she’s racing again tonight and will race the world cross meet at the end of March (and maybe the USATF 15k Champs in mid March) – she simply needs to be in the crucible of competition, the exposure to the fact that racing hurts and yet every race has a point where you have to commit. So that’s the first part of the post – to wish her luck and to explain why she’s racing a bunch in the first three months of the year.

But the second reason for post is simple. If 2010 goes well it will be because of 2009. She and I worked together via phone and internet from Jan 1st through September, then she and Austin moved to Boulder. Her training hasn’t been anything impressive in terms of volume or intensity, yet she’s been consistent. She had several poor races on the the track last year, but had a couple great races too, running 15:20 in Europe, her second fastest 5k and five seconds of her per of 15:15. Consistency is, in my humble opinion, the single most important concept for long term running success (feel free to debate that below). It’s the consistency in Renee’s training in the past 12-14 months which makes me confident that 2010 will be a solid year for her, a year where she can get back her confidence and swagger in the midst of an exciting resurgence of US Women’s distance running.

With that in mind, below is a workout from last March, a long run on Magnolia Road. Later this week I will add another video* below that one of the General Strength she did post run. It was a solid day and in my view, the fitness gained a year ago is contributing to the consistency in training and racing this year.

*Note: Everything that follows was added Sunday, February 28th, after Renee won. Yippie!

Okay, I can’t find that darn video from Magnolia Road, but she did 20 minutes of General Strength (GS) on her mat, immediately following the run, as it was snowing. I’m bummed I can’t find it because it’s neat. Oh well.

However, at this time last year she did Core H often, so I’ll share that (click here to download a pdf of her training). Tons of GS at that time because she was fit enough to get hurt; she was just 5 months post surgery, yet getting fairly fit aerobically; she was dying to run more but I felt it would have been inappropriate to run more, so she had lots of difficult GS work. So you can see how Core H fits in – done after hard days or medium days and we try to do it right after the workout.

Finally, I want to thank Mike Smith for his friendship and mentorship. I stole Core H from him and to me it’s part of Renee’s fitness…and no doubt Core H is part of the reason Beverly Ramos scored 16 points this weekend at the Big 12 Indoor meet (2nd in the 5k on Friday and 2nd in the 3k on Saturday).

…oh, and I guess I should also say both of the videos below are from our DVD, Building a Better Runner – Vol.2, but honestly, if you’re taking the time to read the blog please know I feel I owe it to you to share valuable content for free as the comments and energy underlying this site is a gift and I truly appreciate it. Also, if you go to this link you can download the entire Core H routine to your iTunes/iPod, though the file is huge (180mb). Just go to the bottom right of the screen and download the .m4v file.

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  • Matt

    Great stuff, Jay — love the video. Good luck tonite!

    BTW — have you found that some athletes like the really short tracks, and others hate them, or are people generally indifferent?

  • Kevin Liao

    Congrats on the win! Can't wait to watch it on ESPN tomorrow.

  • TJ

    Yeah, Renee! US Indoor Champ!!!

  • jeffabbott

    Congrats Renee on the WIN! (Congrats to Jay and Austin too). A great runner does it because of there great team.

  • CoachKedge

    Boy did she compete. I happened to be standing track side on the backside of the track to watch Renee run and win one of the most thrilling races I've ever seen (needless to say I've seen many). Here's a quick play by play-

    Renee goes out from the gun, not blazing fast, just fast for a championship race and fast for a race at altitude. knocking off a string of 35 per lay (Abq is 5000 feet elevation). The rest of the field bunched up and was not willing to hang early on. Most in the crowd thought Renee would fade. As the laps clipped by she won the crowd over and they were cheering her on louder and louder each lap.

    After 800 – 1000 meters Renee open up an 11 second lead. She kept hammering, form looking smooth, strong, confident I might add. The girls in the pack started to get itchy bun huggers at this time, a very strong field all running well, I add. They came a huntin`. Renee was not giving in that easy. I took it upon myself to start calling out the gap she had on the pack to help her along. 11 seconds, 11, 11 again, I think it got as high as 12.5 to 13 seconds right after the mile.

    Man the pack was hungry and coming hard for a good long time. You could tell because it strung out pretty quick. Rowberry, Hall, 4 or 5 of them. Renee kept her form, kept her focus, kept clipping off 36 second laps. Cool to see. With 3 to go the lead was maybe 10.5, 2 to go 7 or high 6, with both Hall and Rowberry coming hard.

    Final lap, about 3.5 seconds, the girls start to swwallow Renee up, but she have none of that. She ran, well best evaluation is, she ran her ass off, kept her form, fought to the end, got passed, never gave in, and got Hall back at the line. WOW. I don't know Renee but congrats girl!!!!

  • Jeff

    Congrats on Renee's great performance Jay

  • Jonathan Dalby

    Congrats on Renee's great performance yesterday Jay! That's Awesome!!!!

  • Rodger Kram

    Congrats to Renee and kudos to you too Jay.
    ESPN2 tonight at 5 Mountain time.

    A couple of Magnolia notes for you.
    The PUMA sign is not the shoe company. it is an acronym for a neighborhood association “Protect Unique Magnolia Association”. They do a road clean-up etc.

    One thing that you left out of the story is the footing. Wet, muddy Magnolia Rd. suck the energy right out of one's legs, so those times are very impressive to me.

    Not all of us Magnolia residents have post-traumatic stress syndrome 😉
    It is scary and frustrating to drive up here at or below the speed limit but come around a blind turn and find a bunch of runners fanned out across the road.
    I sometimes run before sunrise on Mags and even though I wear an orange reflective vest, I jump out of the way of the plow trucks and into the snow banks. Those things are massive.

    Anyhow, enjoy Mags, but please try to be safe (r).

  • Neal

    Congrats Jay and Renee – nice to see how it all comes together through your blog and tweets

  • Keith


    It sounds like Renee doesn't have the options to go to Worlds even though she won because she hasn't run under 9:03. However, I think the altitude conversion for a 3k at Albuquerque is about 14 seconds, which puts her under the time. It seems that if they have a National Championship at altitude, they should factor into account the physiological effects on race time. Your thoughts?

  • CoachUrban

    Only read your posting yesterday and just saw the results. Congratulations! Seeing the big picture and how it comes together coupled with a good dosage of belief is so important Great job!

  • coachkaren

    YAY! Congratulations Renee (& Coach Jay). Is there a link up to the race yet? Thanks for also pointing out that this race was made for Renee over a year ago. Good luck at World Cross from the Bear Creek HS distance crew!

    Surreal moment today-was running Waterton Canyon and thinking about how WC is Denver-metro's version of Mags, when Oscar ran by with some of his kids! The Canyon is not near as brutal, but is turning into its own little mecca for HS'ers on the weekend.

  • Glennrjames

    Jay: Watched the meet coverage on ESPN 2 last night. They completely ignored the first 75% of the race and only began coverage once Renee has a 10 or 15 meter lead. If I hadn't read Coach Kedge's color commentary below, I wouldn't have known what transpired early in the race. I'd be interested to know what here 1K splits were and how they compare to the pre-race plan that you and she had established. In any case, congrats to a great (former CU) athlete and her (former CU athlete and) coach

  • CJ

    Congrats to Renee and to you. Love and use your training info. Thanks!

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  • Jeremy Rasmussen

    Jay and Renee,

    Congrats on the great win in the 3K! Haven't had a chance to watch yet, but looks like it was an exciting race. Jay you mentioned consistency as the single most important concept of a distance runner and I completely agree. Doing all the GS and strength training is going to allow the runner to help create that consistency. I am 100% with you on that one!