New Balance is dedicated to helping athletes achieve their dreams by creating high-quality running shoes designed with speed in mind. But beyond offering great products, the brand is also assembling a roster of talented professional runners led by Emma Coburn (3000m steeplechase).
On the heels of clocking the fastest time ever set by an American woman in her event, Emma is gearing up for a shot to achieve her One Goal this year — to compete among the best of the best in August. She competed four years ago, finishing ninth, but this year she has her eye on some hardware. It certainly won’t be easy, but if there’s one thing she knows how to do, it’s how to prepare to win.
“I prepare to win by making sure I’m sleeping right, eating right, and doing all the training that my coaches assign me, so that come race day, I know that I did all the preparation I could to make sure that day goes as well as it can,” said Emma.
To help her be her best, Emma has a secret weapon — her long-time training partner Jenny Simpson (1500m). The dynamic duo met over eight years ago at the University of Colorado, and their bond goes well beyond that of simple teammates.
“Over the years,” Jenny explained, “we’ve had so many shared experiences. A lot of the high points of a person’s life, Emma and I have really experienced together. We both graduated from the same university, Emma was a bridesmaid at my wedding, we both went to London at the same time, and so our experiences in life are so much more than just sharing a team relationship.”
“I agree,” said Emma. “Having a teammate and friend who trains with you every day, sees your struggles, and sees your highs and lows, is a really unique gift that we get to share. There’s no one on the planet that can understand the feeling of being alone on the starting line in the biggest race of your career, waiting for the gun to go off. That’s a very lonely experience at times, and it’s exciting and exhilarating, but it’s crucial that you have someone who knows exactly what that experience is like. So I feel really lucky that I can share that with Jenny.”
But even with so much support, the most seasoned athletes still have to battle nerves, so when approaching the starting line, Emma uses a three-pronged approach to settle in for a race.
“The day of a race, I look back on what my training has been in the past, and that gives me the confidence to know that when I step on the starting line, the race will be okay. I try to remember all the positives in my training and practices that got me there.”
“Racing can sometimes be scary and intimidating. You’re nervous, and for a split second, you hate that you’re standing there, but I just remind myself that I’m choosing this life. This is my passion, and this is what I love.”
“As soon as I have my butterflies under control by thinking about my workouts and reminding myself that I love the sport, I focus on specific things I want to execute in the race. I want to hit these splits, and I want to be in this position. Breaking it down mathematically helps calm whatever butterflies are still left.”
Stop At Nothing
With August on the horizon, Emma feels much more confident than she did four years ago. “Then, I looked down the starting line and I thought, ‘You know, this is kind of neat that I’m here.’ But now I look down the starting line and say, ‘This is where I belong.’”