West Bloomfield junior Erin Finn is one of Michigan's top distance runners. Finn finished seventh last year at Foot Locker Nationals and has had her first full summer to train and focus on cross country. Milesplit's Todd Grasley talks to her about her plans for her junior year, her favorite workouts, and the meets she is looking forward to the most.
You were hurt a lot of your freshman year, but bounced back as a sophomore and had an incredible season. How would you sum up the year?
My freshman year I was injured for both track and cross country. I got stress fractures in my left tibia and right femoral neck. Luckily, since then I have been injury free. I went to swim practice rather than cross country practice my sophomore year.
This summer you got back to training. What has that been like?
My summer training consisted of a lot of base work. I was experimenting with different weekly mileages and paces as this will be my first full summer of real training for cross country. I also did some hill repeats with my team. I went to the University of Michigan Summer Distance Camp with some of my running friends and had a blast.
Last year you placed fourth in state, fourth at Footlocker Midwest, and then seventh at Foot Locker Nationals. What are your personal goals for the season?
My personal goals this season are to stay healthy and run under 17:00 minutes in a cross country 5k. Returning to Foot Locker Cross Country Championships and winning my first state title are also other aspirations that I have.
Do you have a favorite workout?
I really enjoy long runs and fartlek maybe because I just like the name. I have a "Who Fartlek'd" shirt that I wear when we do them. When I do fartleks I feel more warmed up and prepared to go out fast than when I begin a speed workout without a really long warm-up. I also like to run hills. I really like all workouts.
What is an ideal course for you?
My ideal course is hilly. I feel that I excel as a runner on "cross country" terrain rather than on a track. I am able to run well on hills and can use them to my advantage when racing. Also, I like hot, dry racing conditions, but have learned to work with the varying cross country climate.
Is there any song or type of music that you listen to before a race?
I don't have any specific song that I listen to before races, but I really like Taylor Swift. I get really stressed before races and listening to some types of music calms me down. The best way to get me pumped for a race is to talk with my mom and pray, asking God for strength.
Who is your favorite pro athlete?
That is a hard question! After Foot Locker last year, I feel that I have too many to name. I think that runners are a different type of people, and it is really nice to be able to relate to other people who you also aspire to be like someday. Some of my favorite athletes include Suzy Favor Hamilton, Shalane Flanagan, and Meb Keflezighi. Suzy was awesome. I get really nervous before races and she helped me to calm down. She told me that I run for myself and not for anyone else. She is such an inspiration.
What are your hobbies outside of running?
Other than running, I love to read and bike. I am also a bit of a nerd; I love to learn!
What do you eat the night before and morning of a race?
The night before a race, I typically have pasta (how original). My cross country team gets together before almost every meet to have a pasta dinner. We hang out and get excited for the meet the next day. The dinners are a ton of fun (they're why most of the people on the team run) and inspire you to run hard the next day. The morning before a race, I typically have a bagel or something to give me some energy, but not fill me up too much.
What meets are you looking forward to?
I am looking forward to the Spartan Invite hosted by Michigan State University (first time competing), the Michigan Cross Country State Meet, the Foot Locker Midwest Regional, and hopefully Foot Locker Cross Country Championships. However, I enjoy all meets and the competitive atmosphere and team work that accompanies them.
1600 Meter Run5:01.56
Two Mile Run10:19.28
5000 Meter Run17:28.20
Interview After 7th Place Finish At Foot Locker Nationals