Wacky Running with Joanie

In the fall of 1985 my running career was flapping in the wind. I’d just graduated from the University of Oregon and was recovering from a ridiculous number of injuries. I was looking for a fresh start…or at least a second wind.

I packed up my belongings and drove from Oregon to Maine to train with Bob Sevene, a well respected coach for Nike’s Athletics West team and the coach of Joanie Benoit Samuelson.

Wacky Running with an Olympic Champion

I don’t recall a whole lot of detail from my time in Maine. I only lasted about three months before my Northwest DNA called me back to Oregon but here’s what I remember about running with Joanie.

Joanie's Cornering Technique

Joanie’s Cornering Technique

She ran fast and far. She had specific courses she followed. And she didn’t cut corners. Literally.

Where any “normal person” would round out the turn through an intersection, not Joanie. I’m talking right angles here. We’d be cruising along, my lungs squeaking at the pace, and at every turn I’d forget our special military cornering technique and bump into Joanie.

The reasoning for her unique cornering routine was as follows: in training she would run every square inch; on race day she gave herself permission to cut corners. For her it was a mental edge. She took no short cuts in her training preparation.

There Is No Finish Line

Hey, it’s hard to argue with a gold medalist! The spirit of Joanie’s cornering technique is an excellent reminder that the shortest route often isn’t the one that leads to success.