How They Train: North Shore's Brianna Welch

Name: Brianna Welch

Age: 16 (Junior)

School: North Shore High School

Coach: Neal Levy

Personal Bests:
400: 58.2; 800: 2:09.67; 1000: 2:53.02; 1 mile: 4:57.20; 3000: 10:01.7; 5000: 18:07

Acheivements: Cross Country: 4-time Nassau County Class B champion; 4-time All-State; 4-time All-Long Island
Winter track: State 8th grade class record holder in the 600, 800 and 1,000 meters; 2-time All-American; 3-time All-State; 8-time All-County
Spring track: State 7th grade class record holder in the mile; 5-time All-State; 10-time All-County.

Typical Training Week:

a. Pre-Season (Cross country season for Welch)

Sunday: Long run - 75 minutes or off depending on the week
Monday: 4x1200 @ 3:50-3:52 pace with 4 minutes rest or 5x1000 @ 3:10-3:12 with 3-3:30 rest
Tuesday: 45-50 minutes easy and core strengthening program
Wednesday: 8-10 400's @ 70-92 with 90 seconds rest or 8-10  400's @ 73-73 with 60 seconds rest
Thursday: 45-50 minutes easy or exercise bike and core strengthening program
Friday: 30 minutes easy with drills and strides
Saturday: 5K race or 3-4 x 1 mile @ 5:50-5:55 with 60 seconds rest

b. Season (Winter track)

Sunday: off
Monday: 4x600 @ 1:42-1:45 with 5 minutes rest
Tuesday: 45 minutes easy and core strengthening program
Wednesday: 6x60 seconds up steep hill with 3 minutes rest
Thursday: 45 minutes easy and core strengtening program
Friday: 30 minutes easy and drills and strides
Saturday: race or 6x250 going through 200 meters in 29-30 with 3 minutes rest

Goals: The past six months were very difficult for me since I had a stress fracture in my foot.  I was not able to run from mid-May until the beginning of August which greatly hurt my chances of preparing for cross-country. It was surprising to a lot of people I got a stress fracture since I do most of my running on soft surfaces and never ran more than 30-35 miles a week.  This was the first time in my running career that I ever got injured and not being able to train was very difficult for me. Due to the injury I spent 7 days a week swimming and running in the water for 60-90 minutes to maintain my fitness level. I think I went something like 17 days straight in the water at one point. My goals for the cross-country season were modified greatly and I just focused on getting better each week. As the season progressed I was able to train with more intensity and volume. I am happy with my 16th place finish at Feds, considering everything and I am pumped up for the winter season. I have always loved the 800m ever since I competed in the Colgate Games in elementary school. It is a perfect race for me since I have pretty good speed and pretty good endurance. Last year indoors I ran 2:10 at the Armory. I would like to run faster in the 800 but also improve my 1000 and mile times which I think I can do a lot better in. My long range goal is to qualify for the World Youth Nationals in Italy this summer. My coach tells me I have to run around 2:05 to have a legitimate chance. That is my goal and that is what I am aiming for. It would be also pretty cool to compete once again at the Boston Indoor Games HS mile. Can’t wait for the ARMORY!

Coach's Philosophy (by Levy): Brianna has always been on a long range plan. Ever since seventh grade when I started coaching her, it wasn’t about being great now, but excelling in the future. She has exceptional talent, but also an incredible work ethic. It doesn’t matter if she is sick, scraped up, or tired… she will always get the job done. She doesn’t allow herself to have bad days in training which results in her ability to maintain a constant level of improvement over the years. Her rate of improvement in the 800m since fifth grade yearly has been: 2:25, 2:21, 2:17, 2:12, 2:09 before suffering a stress fracture last May. She has been the foundation of North Shore’s program for the last 5 years and has developed into not only a fine runner, but a role model and captain for the other girls.

Regarding my training techniques, I was blessed to have two wonderful college coaches in Steve Borbet at Stony Brook University (currently at Bay Shore HS) and Jack Daniels-SUNY Cortland. They both had different approaches and training styles but their results are undeniable. Between the both of them and my former assistant coach Dwayne Johnson, I was able to create my own training philosophy which I use today.
Basically my philosophy involves the concept of periodization for the entire year and event based training. Event based training is similar to “differentiated instruction” in the classroom. I create specific workouts for each athlete depending on their strengths and weaknesses in running. Rather than giving all the “distance runners” the same workout, I allow them to improve their own specialty over time. Rather than training from season to season, I incorporate all the energy systems within the athlete’s workouts in every season. By introducing speed at an early age, this will create the foundation for the athlete’s success in the future. i.e: if you can’t run 60 seconds in the 400m, then you will never run 2:00 in the 800 if that is your goal.


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Mike Hickey - Pearl River
Caitlin Hudson - Bronxville
Evan Bloomberg - Northport
Emily Lipari - Roslyn