In the past, Jeremy Polson has had to battle plantar fasciitis. Lately, that hasn't been a problem. As a result, his training has been consistent, which can be seen in his race results; 24:15 (2nd place) at Human Race 8K, 1:07:21 PR and victory at the Earth Day Half Marathon and a 14:43 at the Brian Kraft 5K. Therefore, the 29-year-old Duluth resident gets my vote (not that it counts) for the top road racer so far this year. Hopefully he can continue to roll through Grandma's Marathon and earn an Olympic Trials Marathon qualifier. (Photo courtesy of Pete Miller from Down the Backstretch)
If I could give out an award to the Minnesotan who’s having the best spring, you’d definitely be in contention. Are you pleased with how 2007 has started?
I am very pleased with how the year has started out. I took a nice relaxing rest after Grandma's last spring and I think it helped me recover and get mentally focused to train long and hard again.
What have you done differently or what do you attribute your recent success to? Does it have more to do with your training throughout the winter that set the foundation for spring or something you done more recently?
There are a few things that I would attribute my recent success to. The mental aspect mentioned above is a huge reason because I know there were many days in the past that I think I just went out the door and went through the motions and that is never a good thing. Next and for sure the most important thing is the fact that I do not have plantar fasciitis any longer. For those of you who do not know what it is, let's just say it's the worst pain you can have in your heel. The sad part about it is that it doesn't totally make you stop running. It limits your training ability, which allows you to race but not race up to your full potential. So for me going into a Twin Cities road race and hoping to finish in the top three was not possible. I would show up to races in decent shape and finish 7-10th in a race that on a good day I would have hoped to win. So that mentally frustrates you a bit. I dealt with this injury at the U of M and it was a crap shoot as well. I can remember some races running just to score for the team and other races running to be the top guy. Now with no pain I was able to max out at 140 miles a week and hold many weeks at 120-130 miles with ease.
Those results are great, but I’m guessing you’d trade them for one great race at Grandma’s?
I would trade any performance that I have had thus far for a great race at Grandma's but I am just happy with the way things are going right now and it has been an enjoyable racing season.
As you head into your taper, how confident are you feeling?
I am feeling very confident that I have done everything that I could have done to be ready for this marathon.
Any idea how many guys will be going after 2:22 at Grandma’s?
I heard that Grandma's extended their elite list until May 25th. A friend of mine that has a life-time entry was asked by race director Scott Keenan if he would give his number out to an elite runner so they could extend the elite field. So with that it sounds like a large number of runners are going after the trials qualifier.
Looking at results from 2006 and this year’s Human Race, it seems you were always finishing right behind Patrick Russell. Is he your Lex Luther?
Plantar fasciitis is my Lex Luther. Pat is a very tough runner and a workhorse. He is the type of runner that puts in the time and does not make excuses. You know that when you race Pat he is going to give it his all no matter what shape he is in. He is the type of guy that makes you get out the door each day because you know that no matter how bad the conditions are he is going to run and when you race someone like him he is going to make things interesting. I would say Pat is a lot like my former teammate Chad Johnson. They were both good college runners but now are great post-collegiate runners because they are not afraid to put in the miles and they have been doing it for a number of years.
You grew up in Duluth, went to college at the U of M and now you’re back in Duluth. What is the running scene like in Duluth? Do you have many people to train with?
The running scene in Duluth is great in my opinion. I have a number of people that I meet up with to train with from my house on the weekends and I have done a ton of miles with my friend Tony Meyers in the early mornings before I have to go to school and teach. There are a number of great trails right out my front door so that makes it easy to get out the door each day. My training group consists of high school runners, college runners, post collegiate runners, and grand master runners. I think that is the best part about the sport; age is not a factor. I am also a head Track and Cross Country coach at AlBrook High School so some of my second runs are done with my distance runners and that has worked out really well.
What is your training philosophy? Do you tend to follow any certain program?
I believe that there are no short cuts or secrets to being a great runner. Running is hard and you have to be willing to put in the high miles to compete at a high level. I follow an Arthur Lydiard plan, which consists of a huge base phase and I believe that is the most important part of my training program. I believe that whatever your training plan is you need to stick to it. I think that too many people trade what they want tomorrow for what they can have today. I think that you can do a lot off of a huge aerobic base. I am not huge on intervals either. Anyone can crank out 200 meter repeats all day long but I believe that tempo runs and marathon pace runs are the key to distance racing.
What do you consider your strengths? Weaknesses?
My greatest strength is my ability to handle high amounts of mileage. My greatest weakness is plantar fasciitis, it is the only thing that has limited my running potential.
What are your PRs?
Half Marathon 1:07
What is your fondest running memory?
Finishing 6th in the State Cross Country Championships my Junior year of High School. It was the first time in my life that I had set a goal and really worked towards it. I trained a little under 40 miles a week the summer going into the season and I raced really well every race. I placed 4th or better in all my races and never once earned a state ranking. When I got to the two-mile mark at the state meet I was announced as an unidentifiable runner in the top 10. That was my breakout race and I was hooked on running from there on out.
Do you have a favorite local and/or national race?
I love the Human Race in St. Paul because the winter gets to be long and when you get to that race you know that spring is right around the corner. It always seems to be very competitive as well. Not to mention a great out and back course.
If you could run with any Minnesotan, past or present, who would it be?
I think Wayne Gretzky is the greatest athlete of all time but if I had to pick someone to run with I would love to be able to train with Garry Bjorklund and Dick Beardsley.
Finally, what do you know now that you wish you’d known when you first started running?
I wished I knew that it was such a great sport so I could have started it earlier. I didn't run my first XC race until 10th grade, I was a hockey player into my 9th grade year.