An Open Letter To Karissa Schweizer: Consider The Mile At NCAA Indoors

Hey Karissa,

With all due respect . . .

What did you eat for breakfast last Saturday?! Did you just wake up and decide that leading the world in the 5K and setting the No. 6 all-time Division I mark wasn’t enough — that you also had to cut eight seconds from your PR to run the fourth-fastest indoor mile in NCAA history? And then you followed that up at the NYRR Millrose Games by knocking down Jenny Simpson's indoor 3K record in 8:41.60! What’s next? 800m? 10K? Long jump? Is anything safe from your reign of terror?

Okay, I got a little carried away.

What I meant to say was congratulations on your mile PR at the Dr. Sander Invitational/Columbia Challenge. That 4:27.54 has vaulted your name into yet another elite archive of the NCAA’s finest as the fourth-fastest collegiate miler of all time, behind No. 3 Sally Kipyego (4:27.19), No. 2 Leah O’Connor (4:27.18), and No. 1 Jenny Simpson (4:25.91).

That leads me to the ultimate purpose of this letter: why you should consider running the mile at the 2018 NCAA Indoor Championships.

1. Only one of your contemporaries has ever run sub-4:30.

Last year, Elinor Purrier clocked a 4:29.44 to become NCAA DI's No. 10 all-time — and that’s almost two full seconds behind your fancy new PR. You’re even further ahead of reigning indoor champion Karisa Nelson, who took down Purrier and the now-graduated Kaela Edwards to clinch the 2017 NCAA indoor mile title in a PR of 4:31.24. Nelson also ran her fastest-ever 1500m in 4:10.91 back in May, but we have yet to see what kind of mile shape she’s in now. It’s still early in the year, and the possible NCAA field won't start to take shape until conference meets roll around, but it’s also worth noting where you currently stand among indoor mile performers this season.

Last weekend, you flew past Oregon’s Lilli Burdon, who ran the season’s second-fastest mile in 4:35.02 (her new PR) during your heat at the Dr. Sander Invitational/Columbia Challenge. The third-fastest time this season was turned in by New Mexico's Ednah Kurgat, who recorded a 4:35.29 PR on January 19, but I think it’s safe to assume she’ll opt for the 3K-5K double. We’ll have to see how the rest shakes out, as there’s still plenty of time for others to run fast — though probably not as fast as sub-4:30.  

2. You’re 1.63 seconds away from breaking the NCAA record.

With just three or four meets left in your indoor schedule, you don’t have many chances to close your last indoor season with a deliberate attempt at an NCAA record. The SEC indoor championships likely won't furnish enough pressure from the field to help push you past 4:27.54, but the the NCAA indoor championships could. 

Sure, it’s always difficult to set a PR, but it’s a lot easier when you’re pitted against the rest of the NCAA’s fastest women in a high-stakes environment during the peak of your training. And yes, the race could boil down to tactics, but if you dictate the pace from the gun and ride the pressure from the rest of the field, it could be just the right formula. 

3. The 5K-3K double: been there, done that.

You’ve already contested the 5K and 3K at the NCAA indoor championships with tremendous success, winning the former by eight seconds and finishing runner-up in the latter last year. Now that you’re armed with historic mile speed, don’t you think it’d be fun to flip the script in your senior year and try to carve your name into a new corner of NCAA history? Not only could you add a mile title to your resume, but you could also join a niche echelon of distance greats by pulling off the rare mile-3K double title:

  • 1988: Vicki Huber, Villanova
  • 1990: Suzy Favor, Wisconsin
  • 1993: Clare Eichner, Wisconsin
  • 2006: Johanna Nilsson, Northern Arizona
  • 2011: Jordan Hasay, Oregon

Or, you really go for it and attempt to become the inaugural indoor 5K-mile champion! In the 29 years that the 5K has been a part of the women's NCAA indoor championships program, not a single 5K victor has doubled in the mile and won it. With 15:17.31 5K grit and 4:27.54 mile speed, you could be the very first to accomplish that. 

Of course, it’s tougher to run three races instead of two, and with two on the same day. But the potential payoff would be the glory of chasing — and quite possibly obtaining — an NCAA mile title and record in the process.

Mull it over during your next long run.

Sincerely,
JZ

House Of Run: Teenage Takeover At Euro Champs

Jason and Kevin tackle some unexpected questions after European Championships, including:

These Teens Were Stars Before Mondo Duplantis And Jakob Ingebrigtsen

Join PRO Now to Get Unlimited Access to FloTrack!

Join Now

Already a PRO Member? Log In

2018 European Championships - Men's 1500m, Final - Jakob Ingebrigtsen FTW!

Teenage fever is currently sweeping across the world of track and field. 

Mondo Duplantis' Epic Leap Highlights Flaws In American Record Rules

Mondo Duplantis: Prodigy (Trailer)

Reverberations from 18-year-old Mondo Duplantis’ electrifying 6.05m pole vault clearance on Sunday at the 2018 European Championships are still being felt, and among them is the peculiar question of whether the mark will be ratified as an American record.

She's Back: Shalane Flanagan Going For New York City Repeat

Coach Jerry Schumacher congratulates Shalane Flanagan on her NYC Marathon victory

NYRR Press Release                            

At 34, Stephanie Bruce Is Having Her Best Year Yet

There’s a reevaluation that happens when professional runners start to creep into their 30s. Sure, a marathoner might still be in the potential prime of his or her career, but the likelihood of continuing to improve in leaps and bounds decreases significantly with age—especially when you’ve never won a big one before.

But that hasn’t been the case for Stephanie Bruce, who trains with Ben Rosario’s HOKA ONE ONE NAZ Elite training group in Flagstaff, Arizona. When the 34-year-old mother of two won the AJC Peachtree Road Race in July—which doubles as the USATF National 10K Championships—she captured the first national title of her career with a late-race surge over teammate Aliphine Tuliamuk, the defending Peachtree champion and a nine-time U.S. champion.

Shalane Flanagan Is Still On The Go, And So Is Her New Cookbook

The way Shalane Flanagan tells it, she and her cookbook co-author Elyse Kopecky had no intentions of producing a follow-up to their 2016 New York Times bestseller “Run Fast. Eat Slow.” 

Jordan Mann Reflects On His First Team USA Experience

Jordan Mann Is Eating Chicken Tonight

This is the third entry in a series from Jordan Mann, this year's surprise fifth-place finisher in the U.S. steeplechase and mixed zone media darling. This weekend, he chronicled his experience competing at the North American, Central American, and Caribbean Championships (NACAC) in Toronto, Canada. On Sunday, he finished third in a three-person field. 

Presenting FloTrack's 2018 European Championships Awards

Join PRO Now to Get Unlimited Access to FloTrack!

Join Now

Already a PRO Member? Log In

2018 European Championships - Men's 400m Hurdles, Final

The times were fast, the stars were young, and the meet might have been the best in all of 2018. Let’s recap the 2018 European Championships by handing out some much-deserved awards. 

Favorites Win On Final Night Of European Athletics Championships

By David Monti, @d9monti(c) 2018 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

BERLIN (12-Aug) -- On the final night of the 24th European Athletics Championships here at Olympic Stadium, three favorites prevailed in the final middle and long distance events on the schedule: Britain's Laura Muir in the 1500m, Netherlands's Sifan Hassan in the 5000m, and Germany's Gesa Krause in the 3000m steeplechase.  Krause was a repeat champion from Amsterdam two years ago.

New Mexico Transfer Adva Cohen Runs 9:29 Steeple at Euros

Join PRO Now to Get Unlimited Access to FloTrack!

Join Now

Already a PRO Member? Log In

2018 European Championships - Women's 3k Steeplechase, Final

Future New Mexico Lobo Adva Cohen had a phenomenal run at the European Championships this weekend. Coming into the competition, Cohen's personal-best steeple mark was 9:48. In the prelims, she lowered that mark to 9:36, and in the final, she finished fifth overall to become the sixth collegian to break the 9:30 barrier running 9:29.74.