In the final London Runner interview of 2010, we feature Ryan Huff, who was the top London-area senior male at the 2010 Canadian Cross Country Championships, as well as the Canadian University Championships.
LondonRunner.ca: Ryan Huff, coming off your recent races at the CIS and Canadian Championships, how would you describe the fall 2010 XC season?
Ryan Huff: It definitely was a break-though season for me. This was the most consistent cross season that I have ever had. A lot of pieces fell together this fall.
LR: How was it different from previous years?
RH: I don't think that it was that much different from last year's but the difference was being patient with the switch to more strength type workouts last year. I have been working on slowing increasing my mileage over the last year and now I am finally reaping the benefits. At first I just felt tired all the time, but now that I have adapted to the changes I feel I can push through workouts and races when I am not feeling my best.
I also think that my outlook on running has changed a little bit as well. I am not really looking for awards or anything like that, I just like the idea of working hard every week and running fast.Also, with all the stresses of my school program, running is one of the fun parts of my day that I look forward to.
LR: So, combining a more balanced approach mentally while realizing the benefits of the hard work you`ve put in over the past year?
RH: Yes, that would be a good summary.
LR: Coming off such a great XC season, what are your plans for next year?
RH: I am in the process of grad school applications. I would like to enter into a masters program in biochemistry or molecular cell biology. I am going to apply to some schools out west as well as a few schools in Ontario. I worked in a human genetics lab during my first two summers at university and last year I worked in a physiology lab. I really like research so I am looking forward to next year. My current supervisor commented on how similar the mentality of research is to long distance running. There is no instant gratification in either one, you have to slowly work towards a goal day in and day out.
LR: And running-wise, how are the goals shaping up?
RH: I am going to work towards trying to make the Canadian Track and Field Championships this summer. I might try running a 5,000m on the track this summer as well. I haven't run a 5 on the track since grade 10 or 11, so I think a pb is in order (I think my track pb is 17 something). Then, in the fall, I will hopefully run for whatever school I end up at. I think it would also be really cool to try and get close to 31 mins for 10k next cross country season and better my place at nationals.
LR: Speaking of Nationals, coach Paul Roberts pointed out post-race that you were the #3 runner in terms of South secondary school alumni, behind Rob Watson and Jim Finlayson. As South isn't known for being a very intense school program, to what do you attribute this strong alumni showing?
RH: So that was the Jim Finlayson from South. When I looked at the results, I wondered if it was the same Jim Finlayson that has some of the 1500m records at South. I wish I had gotten a chance to meet him after the race. Well I know that Mr. Bauer ran a strong program before I went to South, but honestly I think its almost fluky that we all went to the same school. Although, Robbie Watson was friends with my brother in highschool: they were in the same grade and when I was in grade 9, Robbie suggested that I try joining a competitive running club.
LR: Finlayson came by the LRDC tents post-race to chat with us, but you may have still been cooling down. He's also the world record holder in the beer mile, so you guys might form a pretty strong team there as well as over XC.
RH: Haha, thats pretty funny.
LR: Well, thanks for your time Ryan and best of luck with your running and school in 2011.