5 Take-aways from Elise Cranny's 10,000m AR Near-Miss

March 25, 2022

Elise Cranny is a member of the Nike sponsored Bowerman Track Club, where she’s seen tremendous success under coach Jerry Schumaker, including winning the US Olympic Trials 5000m race last summer, which earned her a spot on the US Olympic Team for the Tokyo Games (where she finished 13th). Since then, her 2022 has stunned many running fans as she broke the US Indoor 5000m record running 14’33 and then followed that up with a 30’14 10,000m run at the Sound Running Ten on March 6th, just 1 second off the American Record.

We caught up with Elise via IG Live (you can watch/listen to the entire talk on YouTube, IGTV, or via Podcast). Here are our five takeaways from that chat.

1. Elise knew she’d missed the American Record at The Ten. But she’s proud of her performance.

“I saw the clock turn from 30’13 to 30’14 as I was crossing the line. Shalane [Flanagan] was there and all excited saying ‘you got it!’ because I was ahead of the lights, but I knew I’d missed it unless the clock was wrong.”

For those of us watching The Ten at home, there was some confusion as Elise Cranny powered away with a final lap in 67 seconds and passed the “wave lights”, the pacing lights that guided her around the track for the previous 25 laps. Coming down the home-straight a few meters ahead of the lights, we were all sure she’d be the new American Record holder.

Yet, the clock showed 30’14, just one second behind. What happened?

Turns out the lights had been set to 30’16, giving Elise the pace to be within striking distance from a lap to two out and then allowing her to kick on the final lap to make up those last few seconds.

The pacing light technology is something new in Track and Field and it seems like there’s still some work to be done in terms of figuring out the best set-up.

That said, after a week and a half, she’s happy with the performance. Obviously it stings to miss a record by 1 seconds (who else remembers Jim Walmsley missing the 100km world record by just a handful of seconds in 2021?), but Elise has moved on from that initial frustration and sees the race as a positive.

Being able to run 30’14 in what was essentially a solo effort (she only had pacers for the first 3000m of the race) shows tremendous grit and strength. It’ll be exciting to see her in some championship style races this summer.

2. Camaraderie over Competition at Bowerman

“I don’t feel a level of competition on a day to day basis. I think we push each other so much in training and races that it’s a big positive in the long run.”

Bowerman Track Club (BTC) is a powerhouse group and one has to wonder if having so many talented athletes on the team leads to rivalries or competition in training. Elise says no.

The ability to push one another in races and the fact that there are often teammates together, even in major championships (like the 2021 US Trials or Olympic Games), mean that they can work together, push each other, and achieve even greater results.

Did Elise feel at all bummed that she lost to teammate Gabriela Debuse Stafford at the Boston University 5000m, despite setting the American Record? Nope. Would it have been different if GDS had been an American? Well, maybe.

3. On mileage, Coach Jerry Schumaker is “hands off”

“Jerry pretty much trusts us to figure that out.”

Your correspondent was pretty shocked to hear that Coach Jerry Schumaker, famously meticulous in his training and racing plans for his team, is almost completely hands-off when it comes to mileage, i.e. how much total running the Bowerman Track Club team members are doing in a given week.

Mileage is often looked to as one of the most fundamental parts of our training as runners, yet runners are given the freedom to structure their non-workout days (i.e. days when they aren’t running intervals on the track, tempo runs, etc.) as they see fit.

It’s also worth mentioning here that Elise was not a high mileage runner in college, running only about 55 miles per week at Stanford, still earning 12 All American honors and running 15’48 for 5000m. Since then, she’s gradually bumped things up slowly over the past few years and is now running 85-90 miles per week.

4. One “elite” practice we can all apply? Get more sleep.

“It’s one of the big things I’ve focused on since turning pro. I try to get 8-10 hours a night… And, yes, I’m also napping.”

When asked what practices she thought could be applied to amateur and youth runners, Elise immediately brought up sleep. Running killer workouts and lifting in the gym are both important parts of training, but if you’re not recovering well between sessions, your body can’t adapt to that training load.

Elise said it wasn’t until she got out of college and started running professionally that she realized she needed to focus on sleep, both in having a consistent bedtime and trying to get at least 8 hours a night, and sometimes a nap as well.

5. Next stop? US World Championship 10,000m Trials (and hopefully a 1500m)

The next competition on Elise’s calendar is the 10K World Championship Trials Race (also the US Champs), to be held at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene on May 27. That said, she hopes to get into a 1500m race in April. Whatever it is that she lines up for, we’ll be watching excitedly to see what will surely be another exciting race.

— Elise Cranny

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