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Catching Up With Dan Huling

Published by
RunnerSpace.com/Pro   on Oct 7 2013, 02:24 PM

It's been a wild 2013 for steeplechase standout Dan Huling. After a terrific start to his season, where he ran a new 5,000m personal best of 13:18 and finish runner-up at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, Huling didn't quite perform up to where he hoped at the IAAF World Championships, failing to qualify for the final. In what can be considered a transition year, switching from coach Robert Gary to coach Jerry Schumacher's Portland-based squad, Huling is taking the next steps professionally to hopefully take his steeple talents to a whole new level of success.

We caught up with Huling recently, chatting about his season, his change of training scenary and much more.

Scott Bush (SB): You had an up and down season, with some major successes and a few disappointments. Being a seasoned veteran, how do you view your 2013 track season?

Dan Huling (DH): When thinking about this season, the first thing that comes to mind is extreme disappointment, but really I think the flow of the season was pretty even keel. Starting out with a big 5K PR was great, but at the same time it was nothing earth shattering. All my other races of the season outside of the bomb at Worlds were just really mediocre, nothing outlandishly good or bad. My standards with the steeple are way higher however because I know the fitness I was in was much better than I raced. It was the first time in my career where workouts were going well, and feeling strong but it wasn't translating. Something I'll have to get resolved in the offseason.

SB: What are you most proud of this season?

DH: I would say I am most proud of working out at a level I had never been close to before while staying relatively healthy all year. I ran through a lot of little aches and pains everyday but only had to take three days off the whole year. I guess USA's was a good race but all I had to do was follow Evan, so it was fairly easy to execute.

SB: What's it like living and training over in Europe during the peak of your season?

DH: This was the first time I had really had a block of training in Europe. Especially being at altitude, it was a nice treat. Our setup was really convenient in St Moritz and it was awesome to have several teammates there doing essentially the same thing. Usually Europe is where you branch off from your normal training partners, but we're all extremely lucky in our group to maintain a sense of normalcy come summer. We only had one "race" all summer and we drove down day of and drove back right after. Which of course is normal with Jerry.

SB: How was the transition for you moving to Portland and joining Jerry Schumacher's team? What was the most difficult part?

DH: Not that I was in Portland very much all year, but the move for me was really good. I knew most of the guys already so that was nice. Portland is kind of my ideal place to live with mild temperature, mountains and an ocean really close. The running and facilities at Nike are top notch and the trails in Forest Park are great.

The transition with training was pretty difficult at first. I had been semi-banged up in December with a foot issue, plus I moved across the country, traveled for holidays, so the first month of January in Colorado Springs was ROUGH. I didn't finish even 75% of workouts. But right when we got back to Portland at sea level things turned around really fast. The biggest problem all year was just not having the base of strength work that all these guys have. I could hang on pretty much every workout except when the workout called for another level of aerobic strength I didn't have. Luckily, that's something that can be improved as long as you run.

SB: Training with Evan Jager certainly seemed to benefit you both this season. How's it been training with Evan and working with Pascal Dobert a bit?

DH: Training with Evan was awesome this year. We literally did every single workout together the entire year, and he definitely opened my eyes on what it takes to be at the level he's on. It's definitely something I'm capable of, which is exciting. He seemingly never has off days so there were definitely moments this year where he had to just lead me around the track. I need to get to a level where I'm within myself during the workouts with him or if I can't do that make sure I back off, as maybe that was a bit of a problem this year. I was going to the well too many times just to keep up. As I get older and he gets into his prime (which is scary). I feel extremely lucky that all I have to do is follow him around for the next three years.

Working with Pascal was definitely one of the main reasons I had any success. His strength program and hurdle expertise really helped me stay healthy. This was the first year since college where I didn't have 2-3 weeks of something happening that forced me to stop running. There are still things that I need to work on with hurdling like keeping my arms tighter but he has incredible patience and hopefully I can make some improvements.

SB: With your season all wrapped up, what does a typical off-season look like for you?

DH: Right now I am in the middle of taking two weeks completely off. I'll probably run every other day for two weeks after that. This is usually more than I would normally take but I had a really, really long year starting last August, so I think I need a little more rest physically and mentally.

For more, check out Huling's USATF bio

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Scott Bush
It's crazy to think the top two steeplers in the U.S. grew up a mere 35 minutes from one another (Geneva, IL and Algonquin, IL).
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