Catching up with Brendan Johnson
PL Track Scholar-Athlete of the Year talks outdoor track, upcoming goals and team chemistry
After senior Brendan Johnson captured gold in the men’s 10,000m (6.2 mi) race at the Patriot League Conference Championships and competed in the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds on May 26, he said he took five days off to rest and recover.
But after that brief respite, Johnson’s back. With plans to run upwards of 100 miles a week this summer, Johnson said he is looking forward to the chance to race again, and he has his eye on three more Patriot League titles.
“I want to win the Patriot League cross country championships, and I want to go to nationals in cross country,” Johnson said.
A leader on the track and in the classroom, Johnson also earned the 2016 Outdoor Track Patriot League Scholar Athlete of the year this spring, an award he said came as a surprise to him. Looking to the fall, he hopes to help guide the incoming class of runners to achieve success by committing themselves fully to the program and the training plan.
“My position on the team has changed because I can talk to the team about the way things used to be, future's looking bright,” Johnson said.
Given the monotony of the long runs, the continued stress on academics and the constant desire to improve, Johnson said he relies on his teammates for comradery and support, even during the summer months. The training leading up to the cross country season requires Johnson and his team to put in significant miles, but Johnson said he enjoys fall running the most, even though he has seen the most success in the outdoor track season in the spring.
“I kind of view each season separately,” Johnson said. “Cross country is probably my favorite sport, but I haven’t had as much success at it yet. I feel like when I’m getting better, it usually takes until the end of the year to get better. I’m probably better in cross country, but it take me a while to wind up and get going, so I guess that’s why outdoor track is my best season.”
A three-sport athlete, Johnson competes in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track, a combination that often requires him to train with few days off. He’s followed this pattern for three years, and he has no plans to stop. Throughout his career so far at AU, Johnson said he has watched his training partners come and go, but he believes the team is at the best place it’s been since he joined as a freshman, and he has his sights set on several more Patriot League Championships.
“I’m excited for our team, I feel like the team is finally on a much better trajectory than it was when I came in as a freshman,” Johnson said. “I think that our team is getting to where it used to be, and it’s getting ready to be self-sustaining and always a cross country and track contender.”
With the rest of the Patriot League chasing him heading into this next season, Johnson isn’t backing down. He hopes to capture conference titles in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track before his graduation, but he knows another win will require just as much work, if not more.
“I think it’s always important after you have a successful season, to just kind of remember that people are going to be coming for you,” Johnson said. “After I’ve had seasons that weren’t as good as this one, I’ve always wanted to work harder to beat the person who won, or someone who did well, so I have to remember that people are going to be thinking that about me, so I just need to work that much harder to maintain my position in the top of the league.”