Aaron Hendrikx opened his 2011 racing campaign with his only indoor race of the year, an indoor 3,000m competition in Toronto in which he smashed his own London Runner Distance Club Junior record with a time of 8:30.52. Hendrikx talks about recent training, carding support, and his decision to attend University in Ontario.
LondonRunner.ca: Following your successful 2010 XC season, how has training been going?
Aaron Hendrikx: Training has been going quite well this winter. I’ve been able to get out and run all my km’s properly. So overall I have felt really good this winter with just a few minor tweaks here and there.
LondonRunner.ca: It may surprise some people, but you’ve had your fair share of injury issues, even having to skip or adjust some recent workouts. What have you, along with the Physios at CBI Health, done to ensure you prevent any minor issues from becoming long-term injuries?
Aaron Hendrikx: The most important thing I have done to prevent any long-term injuries is not ignoring any small pains or injuries I have had the past couple months. I’ve been good with stopping a workout or reducing the volume as soon I felt something start and then talking to either Steve or Nate about it as soon as I could to get their opinions. Basically, I have been good at reacting quickly to any small pains my body has had lately. The physio I`ve been receiving at CBI Health has been awesome; my last injury was treated very quickly and I learned a lot about why I have had a few of problems I have had in the last year. Now I`ll be working with CBI health on ways to prevent these small injuries/issues from becoming anything more intense: some strength work, improving running form, etc.
LondonRunner.ca: This past Friday you ran your only indoor race of 2011, which turned out to be a big 3,000m PB and new club Junior record of 8:30. How did the race play out?
Aaron Hendrikx: The race didn’t play out at all how I had expected it to. A kilometer in I was running alone just behind the leader (Real Deal) and I didn’t expect to be running by myself at all because there were a few seed times close to mine. I knew I was going at a good pace because of the cheering around the whole track and I wasn’t falling too far behind Kyle. This helped a lot in the middle km. I had told myself at 8 laps to go that if I still felt good at 5 to go I would pick it up and try to reach the 50m gap Kyle had on me. I was surprised to actually be catching Kyle once I picked it up slightly so that helped tremendously with keeping my pace up on the last km and eventually catching Kyle. This race was a very nice surprise after going to see the physio twice that week for a bit of a quad issue.
LondonRunner.ca: You recently found out you’d been selected to receive provincial carding (Quest for Gold funding). In conjunction with the London Runner Athlete Assistance Program support, what does this mean to you as an aspiring young athlete? Does it reinforce your decision to stay in Ontario for your University studies?
Aaron Hendrikx: These programs have given me great opportunities while staying in Ontario and have definitely reinforced my decision even more to stay in Canada. I had decided at the end of last summer that I was staying in Canada. I have seen great things happening in Canada in the University running scene and from post-collegiates training in Canada since I’ve started running. I feel that staying in Canada is what`s best for me and for me to continue to improve. Getting Quest for Gold and being a part of the London Runner AAP program is an awesome start for me to achieve my goals while being in Ontario.
LondonRunner.ca: Looking at the National carding standards, the minimum performances are 3:50.42 for 1,500m and 13:50.63 for 5,000m. Which do you feel is more realistic for you to aim at for 2011?
Aaron Hendrikx: Well it is pretty clear that the 1,500m standard is MUCH more realistic for me to aim for. I`m just a couple seconds off of the 1,500m standard right now and am over a minute off the 5,000m standard. I’ve only done one 5,000m race, but that is another issue for me to be thinking about the 5,000m standard. There just isn`t quite the same opportunity, at least not as often, to run a fast 5,000m as there are to run a fast 1,500m, especially as a high school athlete.
LondonRunner.ca: Do you feel such a differential in standards could affect your event focus in future years? If so, how might this influence your long-term development?
Aaron Hendrikx: The differential in the 5,000m standard could very much lead me to focus on the 1,500m in future years. It just makes more sense for me to go after a standard I am closer to and to hopefully receive funding for eventually that would help with my development.
LondonRunner.ca: Any tips to fellow runners on how to stay focused and relaxed in races?
Aaron Hendrikx: That is actually a difficult question. This is very hard to do all the time, but being able to control your thoughts during a race, especially the bad ones, is very helpful to stay focused and relaxed. If you are thinking about a lot of things you’re probably not focused and likely not relaxed. Keep thoughts simple, smart and realistic and I think you’ll be able to focus better and feel more relaxed.