Saturday, September 22, 2007

So, Solinsky…

Welcome to our latest column: So, Solinsky…

Tegenkamp sports his Stop Solinsky t-shirtYou’ve got questions, Chris Solinsky has answers. Send your queries for Chris to soso @ kimbia dot net. And don’t forget that one of those other fast fellows there in Madison, Wisconsin, a certain Matt Tegenkamp, is also fielding questions. He can be reached at askteg @ kimbia dot net.

I have two questions for you. What type of strength training do you do? Do you think playing soccer as a kid helped you to become a better runner?—Chad Powell

The only type of strength training that I do is core strengthening. The only kind of lifting I do is lifting of my body, meaning doing pull-ups, dips, and pushups, with the focus of it Solinsky shows off his wounds from Stockholm (Photo by Victah Sailer)being body control. By body control, I mean everything is slow and controlled, keeping the body core tight and flexed. The core strengthening sessions are usually 30-60 minutes, done 2-3 times a week depending on the time of year. These focus on all kinds of planks and holding my body weight.

I would say that soccer definitely did not hurt my running. I played the stopper position, which required a lot of running because I was both defense and offense. I had to push up and support the offense, but if someone got behind us I was the one who was responsible to get back and chase down that person, so I did a lot of running. I heard a stat once that during a 90-minute game a midfielder would run an average of 7-9 miles, so it had to help.

I’ve followed your career with interest ever since your sophomore year of high school. As a former Stevens Point resident, I couldn’t go one week without hearing your name or reading about another victory in the local sports column. With that trend continuing throughout your college career, I can only imagine the level of expectation placed upon you by fans, as well as the individual goals that you set for yourself. Throughout your career, you’ve proven time and time again that you can handle the stress of being the favorite and continue to improve and reach new levels in your running. Despite a few bumps in the road, your improvement has been a pretty smooth ride. How do you extend the college mentality and team aspect that have helped drive you to be one of America’s best distance runners, and apply it being an individual professional? So far, has the idea that you are a professional athlete sunk in? Can you explain some of the differences you’ve noticed over the past 4 or 5 months, going from NCAA champion to consistent world-class performer traveling the European circuit?—Patrick Gaynor

Nelson, Sikes, Tegenkamp, Solinsky, and Bairu in LondonWell it was not hard for me to differ between individual and team goals because in my mind they have always coincided. Our sport is a selfish one to start; in order to make it in college, an individual must be a bit selfish in their training and ambitions. I always have had the mentality that the better I am, the better I can contribute to my team, and when it came time to run for a team championship I always told my teammates that I would do my job and they would have to do theirs, and if we all got the job done, we would be champions.

Now that I’m no longer running for a team I am still pushing myself to become the best runner I can be, but unfortunately am no longer sharing successes with my teammates. I would say that becoming a professional athlete has not really sunk in because nothing has really changed for me. The only thing that has changed has been that I have gotten the opportunity to travel overseas to compete against the best in the world; prior to signing with Nike this would have never occurred, and I’m thankful that I have that opportunity now. Lining up next to Bekele and Mottram was definitely a new thing for me, but I deserve to be there.

When you turned pro, what kind of stuff did you get? Did a UPS man just deliver a package one day to your doorstep and inside was a bunch of Nike gear?—Oliver Chang

Solinsky trails Tegenkamp at the US Outdoor Champs (Victah Sailer)Ha-ha. Well, I did get a lot of running gear and enough gear to outfit me during my trip to Europe. I signed prior to the U.S. Championships, so I got all my new gear at the meet. I did not know if I would get any more than my uniform, so I had to bring every piece of Nike gear that I had to the meet, which at that point was not much, since Wisconsin is sponsored by Adidas.

I saw this link on mensracing.com and I just wanted to say thank you for coming out to Lyndonville. Not only is it great to meet the runners that are taking American distance running to new heights, but you do an amazing job connecting with other runners no matter what their caliber. So, in short, much appreciation, and I can almost guarantee after listening to the campers talk around campus that you just got yourself over 300 new fans.

We talked briefly about your core workouts and it got me thinking: would you be willing to give a breakdown of what you do or something of that sort? I completely understand if you can’t; I mean you got to keep that competitive edge.

Best of luck in your training and in getting to Beijing.—Nate Bradbury

Well, first of all, thank you, I had a great time in Lyndonville and hope to come back sometime. I could go through some of my core exercises for you. We always start off with a light warm-up of doing balance exercises, such as one-legged squats and motions on one leg. We also do held squats while pushing in on the knees while squatting and doing motions such as circles, side to side, and figure 8s. After the warm-up, we do various versions of planks, side, front and back. Additionally, we do reverse crunches where our legs are moving and our abs/back stays on the ground. That is pretty much it, with a cooldown of stretching. Obviously, the length and what exercises used vary depending upon the time of year and focus for the workout.

What percentage of your weekly miles are on roads, and what trainers are you using since the Nike contract?—Ricky Hall

I would say that it varies depending upon the time of year. During the winter there is no other place to run other than the roads or bike paths, because that is the only thing clear in Madison. During the remaining part of the year, I would say that I run probably 50 percent of my runs on the roads and 50 percent on the trails in the Arboretum, or at Picnic Point here in Madison. I train in the Nike Zoom Elite 3 and the Nike Air Pegasus T/C.

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