Thursday Conversation: Colleen Quigley

Thursday Conversation: Colleen Quigley

This week’s Thursday Conversation comes to us from Nerinx Hall High School junior Colleen Quigley. The speedster from Class 4 has been tearing up cross-country courses since her freshman year and her junior campaign has been no different, placing first at both the Hancock and Edwardsville Invites in times of 19:17 and 18:51. This week she is gearing up to defend her MWAA title from last year at Principia High School in St. Louis.  Before she gets on the line this week, I had a chance for a conversation with Colleen.

In a recent interview with Milesplit, you mentioned an injury you were battling. Are you fully recovered?

I'm not really injured but I'm doing exercises to avoid some recurring shin/calf pain. It's not too bad right now but the same thing was bothering me in track season so I'm afraid it could get worse if I ignore it, so I'm being careful. I'm not really backing down on training though, just trying to run on grass as much as possible, even if it means going somewhere else than the rest of my team. I've cross-trained once a week a few times.

Renee Goodenough has been making quite a statement this season. How do the two of you work together as teammates?

Renee is a great teammate. She is one of our team captains and sets a really positive example to the team with her attitude and work ethic. I'm hoping she will be up for training with me more this year over the winter before track season. We trained more together last spring on the track, but cross-country season I've mostly been doing different workouts than the rest of the team. When we are both doing easy days we usually run together and talk about everything imaginable. During the races, Renee and I stay pretty close the first mile, but I usually make distance in the second and third miles.



What does a typical training week look like for you?

I just finished 6 weeks of some tough interval work. Monday is usually a long run, about 10-miles. Tuesday is 5-6x1000s at interval pace. Wednesday is about 5 miles and strides. Thursday is a tempo run, sometimes mile repeats or 30 min at constant tempo. Friday is thirty minutes and strides. Saturday is race day and Sunday is off. My coach/dad uses the Jack Daniel's training system for track and cross-country and I really like it.

What is the hardest workout you have done?

The hardest one I've done this season is probably the 6x1000 at interval pace. Especially with hills or wet ground it is sometimes hard to hit my goal pace but when I can click them out right about on target it is a great feeling.

Cross-country or track, which do you prefer and why?

It depends on when you ask me. Last spring I would have said track, even though I was nervous about the season going into it. Once I started doing well and went to state I had a lot of fun and was sad it was over. Now I'm really into cross-country and might say I love the cooler weather and grass running that’s easier on my knees. But for some reason I really love training on the track where everything is leveled out and there's no excuses. I can get a little obsessive about hitting my goal splits and I like knowing exactly what pace I am running.

Tell me some about your coach and the impact he/she has had on you as a person and runner.

My coach is great (although if I don't say that I might not eat tonight!). He is also my dad and I'm so lucky to have an in-house trainer. We get along really well and I have tons of respect for his knowledge. We talk about running ALOT. He has tons of experience as a runner himself and 28 years as a coach. He switched from CBC to Nerinx when I unexpectedly decided to run my freshman year and I'd say he's adapted to us well, the girls love him and vice-versa. Like I said, he uses Jack Daniel's book like a Bible and it's been working out great for me so far.

Who would you say are the top 5 girl runners in the state right now?

I look up to Sisson and Robison so much. Their spots are engraved in stone as far as I'm concerned. It's hard to compare times because with cross-country because the courses can be so different. I'd like to think that I could fight up there with top 5 if I had the chance. Liga Blyholder and Courtney Wood would be up there too I would say.

Do you have any post-season plans?

I'm thinking about Footlocker Regionals. Training for another 3 weeks after state will be new for me, and pretty tough I think, but it could be really fun to race the best girls. I'm really not in love with racing in general even though my brother says I'm one of the most competitive people he's met. Just thinking about such a big race as that honestly kind of scares me, but is exciting too. Nike is a possibility but I would like to see my brother Dan run his regional race that same day so I might skip that one this year.

What is your favorite pair of training shoes? Racing shoes?

This season I switched from Nikes to Adidas Sequence, looking for a little more support. For track season I got new spikes, the Nike Zoom Jana Star from my friends at the Running Center and I LOVE them.

If you could pass down one piece of advice to a freshman who has just started running, what would it be?

We have a great prospect in freshman Tess O'Brien this year. I tell her and any others that haven't had much running experience.... it’s supposed to hurt! I think a lot of times it takes people a while to realize how to get out of their comfort zone and find out what they can really do. Oftentimes new runners will cross the finish line with way too much left in them, so I'd say don't be afraid to push yourself and feel the burn.

If you could race one girl in Missouri right now head to head, who would it be and why?

One? I'd love to race any and all of the girls I see as my competition: Wood, Phoebus, Blyholder, and Yohe. My team doesn't really enter in any meets with challenging competitors so I haven't seen any of these girls yet this season. I'm itching to get on the line with some girls that may really kick my butt and also help me drop my times.

I hear you have a modeling career in addition to school and running. Tell us about that. 

I started modeling a little over 2 years ago. It's been an adventure so far and I love it. I don't work that much because of school and running- those definitely come first. When I'm on the road I make sure to schedule time for my runs. I take advantage of summer especially, and any times I don't have school. I spent this past summer in New York and ran a ton in Central Park and a few times in Van Cortland Park, which was really fun.





Thanks Colleen! Good luck the rest of the season.