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March 30, 2011

David Torrence - A Pro's Perspective from one of the top US Milers!

Written by Dena Evans


With personal bests of 1:45 in the 800, 3:34 in the 1500 meters and 3:54 in the mile, David Torrence is one of America’s brightest young middle distance talents.   A graduate of Loyola High School in Los Angeles and UC Berkeley, David represents Nike while competing with the Bay Area Track Club, an organization he co-founded.

David was the USATF Junior National 1500 meter champion in 2004, and two months later was a finalist in the IAAF World Junior Championships. As an upperclassman at Cal, David won the Don Bowden Mile, running 3:58.62 to break Don Bowden's school record (Don Bowden was the first American to break the 4:00 barrier).   Since graduation, he has won USATF titles both indoor (3000m) and on the roads (mile), along with anchoring the second fastest 4x1500m relay in American history.  Just last weekend, David won both the 800 and 1500 meter events at the 2011 Stanford Track & Field Invitational.

Coach:   After winning at Stanford in the 1500/ 800, what are you working on?

DT:  After winning those races, I am looking forward to getting really fit and practicing my kick so I can be at my utmost ability for the USA championships.  My main goal is to make the world championship team and go to Daegu [Korea, site of the 2011 IAAF World Track & Field Championships].  I know a lot of athletes went to Australia and other places to get the “A” standard early, but I felt it was better to go the other way, and be prepared later on.

Coach:  What races are on the schedule?

DT: I have a few races lined up, but I am not concerned about time as much this year.  I have run the time I need before, so I just want to continue to compete hard and make top three [top three finishers at the USATF Championships who have achieved the “A” Standard get to represent the US at the World Champs].

I am definitely doing Mt. Sac, probably the 800m.  I am also doing the High Performance meet at Occidental College and hopefully the Diamond League events in Eugene and New York.  I may also do Texas Relays and possibly Penn [Relays].  I might also run at the Brutus Hamilton meet [Cal’s home invitational].

Coach:  Moving from college to the pros, what have you adjusted to your training to make the leap?

DT:  The biggest things that have improved my ability to run and compete are daily post-run exercises.  In college you have school and homework. You just run, come home, have dinner, and go back to class.  Now that I am a professional, I have more time.  Almost every day I do some sort of core or body weight exercises.  I feel it helps with strength as well as recovery.  Sometimes I feel totally trashed after a workout.  Although it is hard to motivate to actually do the exercises, you actually feel better after doing them, sending blood flow back to the areas, and kind of cleaning things out.

Coach: This month, we are talking to our members about the transverse abdominis.  How do you feel core strength helps you as a middle distance athlete?

DT:  As an athlete, I feel like it helps maintain posture.  At the end of the race, you start to crumple – you hunch over your back starts to curve – people are all over the place.  If you really work on your core, it really helps you to maintain good posture and good form.  So instead of working against your body, you keep things going in the right direction.  It also helps during training.  When you are constantly doing these hard workouts, your body gets bent out of shape while doing them too.

Coach:  Tell us a bit about the work of the Bay Area Track Club?

DT:  It is going well for us – we had a fall marathon speaker series for runners in the Bay Area - Q&A sessions for beginners and experienced recreational runners with our Olympian, Magdalena Lewy-Boulet, and our other pro marathoner, Peter Gilmore.

In the winter we had the Bay Area Cross Challenge, where we had a number of athletes tuning up for the US cross country championships.  We have been doing a lot of high school clinics where we kind of go over how to go from high school athletics to the next level.  Whether it is a high school athlete or an adult jogger, we want to contribute to the running community.  Hopefully then people will see us in our races and support us, saying,  “Hey, that guy is on Bay Area Track Club!”

The average high school basketball player knows the names of the famous basketball players, but if you ask a high school runner who is the fastest American miler, they probably don’t know.  So we want to bridge that gap.

Last modified on May 10, 2011
Dena Evans

Dena Evans

Dena Evans joined runcoach in July, 2008 and has a wide range of experience working with athletes of all stripes- from youth to veteran division competitors, novice to international caliber athletes.

From 1999-2005, she served on the Stanford Track & Field/ Cross Country staff. Dena earned NCAA Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year honors in 2003 as Stanford won the NCAA Division I Championship. She was named Pac-10 Cross Country Coach of the Year in 2003-04, and West Regional Coach of the Year in 2004.

From 2006-08, she worked with the Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiative, helping to expand the after school fitness programs for elementary school aged girls to Mountain View, East Menlo Park, and Redwood City. She has also served both the Stanford Center on Ethics and the Stanford Center on the Legal Profession as a program coordinator.

Dena graduated from Stanford in 1996.

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