MICK: It is a pleasure to talk to you. Nice run in Boston (4:03 mile). It must be quite a challenge racing with 10-15 other sub 4 minute milers. I read that you have reduced your mileage to about 60 miles per week to prepare for the mile. What kind of mileage do you normally do?

LUKAS: Usually my mileage is around 50-60 miles per week. Before a race I reduce it down to 30-40 with more emphasis on speed work.

MICK: Now that you have made your college choice, will that affect your training or racing plans for the rest of the year? How many races do you like to run per season?

LUKAS: There's no exact amount of races I enjoy competing in a season but it has recently been increased to at least five per season to gain as much experience as possible.

MICK: Have you selected a major for college?

LUKAS: I'm not totally sure yet but political science sounds like an interesting topic to study at Oregon.

MICK: Do you intend to go for the high school indoor 2 mile record? (where/when?) Gerry Lindgren told me that he wants you to go and get it. He feels the record has been around too long.

LUKAS: Mr. Lindgren's record has been standing for way too long. Over 40 years is ridiculous, but it just shows us how strong runners as him were back then. It has been my intention to break it ever since the end of my freshman year and I feel that all I need is the right opportunity and to just focus all my attention to it.

MICK: Gerry is cheering for you and hopes you break his record. He talked to me about it;

Gerry Lindgren’s comments

  1. To break the record it will take courage! A runner cannot sit in the back of a pack of runners and hope to break records. He will have to be a front runner and do the work.
  2. Here in Hawaii we are isolated from news of the running community and the world. I listen to the drums beat on Mt Waiolioli and know what news they deliver but it is all local stuff and sports are hardly drummed down to my valley. I know of Lukas only what you have told me.
  3. When I ran 8:40 for two-miles I expected that mark to be broken within a year or two. That it has stood for so many years is my endless shame and disappointment. I have failed the running community. If I had been a better runner I would have inspired other high school runners to train harder. The record would have continued to fall. But instead I have been 'embalmed' in a label of a 'gifted athlete' and confused with natural ability that never existed. Kids have looked up to me in awe when they should have looked at me in disbelief. If a skinny, tiny, uncoordinated kid like me can run 8:40 certainly any NORMAL kid can run 8-flat! The mark has lasted all these years because runners are training to race 4:30 pace and beat 9-minutes instead of training to race 4-minute pace and 8-flat. This is all my fault and I am deeply sorry I have interfered with the progress the 2-mile event should have experienced.
  4. I would ask Lukas: Can/will you lead?
  5. That 8:40 race was the third of three two-mile races I did that season. In the first one the coach wanted me to hit the first mile in 4:30 and I hit right on 4:30. In the second one he said 4:25 should be my goal and I hit right on 4:25. The 4:20 on this one was also preplanned but I SWEAR I was completely out of control on every race and had no idea of the mile time. I think a GREAT first mile is important. You gain power from the early pace.
  6. I will be looking for him. I hope he gets it because it has been there for too long! High school runners should be running under 8:10 already! Go Lukas Verzbicas!!!!

MICK: Would you like to ask Gerry a question?

LUKAS: I guess I would ask him what part of the race hurts the most?

Gerry Lindgren’s answer; The FINISH is the part that hurts the most for me. I didn't so much try to win races as to make races fast and inspiring. By the time I got to the last quarter of the race I had used up as much as I could. The finish was PAINFUL!

MICK: Are you still keeping up with triathlon training? Are you putting the tri on the back burner while you are in college?

LUKAS: Having committed to Oregon I am now fully concentrated on running and no longer triathlon, although all the triathlon training I've done previously has just helped me tremendously and I highly recommend it to any youth runner looking to build up an amazing base for whatever he or she chooses to do in the future.

MICK: What kind of training would you suggest for young kids who would like to get into triathlons?

LUKAS: I would suggest to vary training very much at a young age. Try developing as many muscle groups as possible so that when you choose a sport you will have conditioned your body for it already whether it is still triathlon or any other physical sport.

MICK: How did you manage your personal schedule when you were training for the triathlon? How many hours per day did you train?

LUKAS: I would train for at least three hours a day for the triathlon. It's tough to manage school and whatever sort of social life I have left, but it's important to sacrifice this much because it all pays off.

MICK: How many hours per day do you train now?

LUKAS: Right now the training involves a lot more speed-work and although it is not so time consuming with the volume, the intensity of training is at an all time high. I would say that it's about 2-3 hours a day during an average training day not counting taper days.

MICK: As you begin to get ready for college, what kind of mileage do you expect to be running as a freshman?

LUKAS: I'm sure that as a freshman at Oregon my mileage will definitely increase but it will be done gradually and will probably not exceed 70-80 miles per week.

MICK: What kind of adjustment do you think it will take to race 10k cross country in college?

LUKAS: I think the 10k xc distance will suit me very well just by having done the distance training from my triathlons.

MICK: You have talked a bit about your long term development plan if previous interviews. Can you talk more about what you would like to do over the next 5-10 years and what type of training you expect?

LUKAS: I cannot tell you what sort of training I will have at Oregon as I myself am not sure yet but it will be training to develop me into the fastest runner possible after college when I will be at my prime.

MICK: What pace do you run on your recovery runs?

LUKAS: My recovery runs vary from 6:30-7:30 mile pace.

MICK: What kinds of tempo runs do you run?

LUKAS: Tempo runs are either 5 miles straight or broken up into 3 miles tempo/recovery jog/ 2 miles tempo again.

MICK: When you do your tempo runs, what is the pace? Are your tempo runs at or below your aerobic/anaerobic threshold?

LUKAS: My tempo runs are right under anaerobic threshold at 5 minute mile pace.

MICK: Your mother and step-father coach you. What is their training philosophy?

LUKAS: They always make sure to never overdo it and will always see how I feel before giving me the workout. I think their philosophy involves developing speed first but to also make sure to get the aerobic capacity so high that by the end of the race I feel as fresh as possible so I can use that speed.

MICK: Are you able to separate family life from running life?

LUKAS: I can definitely separate the two. It takes definite knowing what it is that I want. If I need to run then I do that which always comes first. If I want to spend some time with friends I look at my schedule and see whether I have a workout or not, whenever I don't I can do whatever I want, running doesn't consume my life.