Greg Swiatocha is the NOVA Featured Runner this week! Greg has been selected based on his recent 10th place performance in the Annapolis 10 Miler, as well as his consistently strong performances in road races as well as at track practice, while serving as the de facto men’s team leader. Greg also has served for the past 1.5 years managing NOVA membership and recruiting, in his role as Membership Coordinator, while the club saw growth from 74 members in April 2015 to a current roster of 128.
From Coach Jerry: Greg is the foundation of our men’s team. I’ve been looking for years for a man to build a program around, and I’ve found that man in Greg. He is talented, with range from 5k to the marathon, hard working, dedicated to the team, and most of all he has a great approach to his training. Greg comes ready to work hard every week, and his goal is to get better with every workout. Greg’s consistent, steady approach is a great example for the other guys. With Greg as our centerpiece, the NOVA men’s team is farther along now than it has been in my 10+ years with the team, and I’m looking forward to watching Greg lead the way into the future.
1) What are your PRs?
5K – 15:49
10K – 32:25
10M – 55:51
Half – 1:13:40
Full – 2:53
2) Goal race(s) for this year? Other races planned?
Looking forward to a successful fall season, namely Richmond Half and probably try for something fast at Alexandria Turkey Trot. Perhaps a marathon next year, but haven’t committed at this point.
3) What do you consider your best race performance to date?
A single good performance is really hard to nail down, and I’m not sure anymore that your fastest time is indicative of a good performance. I’m really happy with my 5K and Half PRs, but I learned the most about how to run at Army 10-miler last year, also a PR race. I feel that Army-10 taught me how to stay calm before a race and pay attention to and monitor everything going on during the race . . . breathing, adrenaline, effort, fatigue. Army-10 also reconfirmed for me that I know how to run a smart first two-thirds of a race and finish the last third even stronger.
4) How and when did you find NOVA, and what do you like best about the team?
Coach Jerry introduced me to NOVA in October 2014. I worked with him for about four months before that at GRC practices, predominately from the back of the pack. I started showing a little improvement in workouts, but I still struggled in races from the intensity of the training. It wasn’t a good fit for me, socially or physically, and Jerry recognized that. It was tough news at the time hearing that it wasn’t working out, but I jumped at the opportunity when he said that he also coached NOVA. The camaraderie at NOVA, regardless of the pace you run your 800s in, is what really makes the team special. You aren’t recognized so much by your fastest 5K, but by what your personality adds to the team. We have all levels of fast, but most importantly we have good people. If you haven’t been told good job or been applauded coming through your lap, you’re in the wrong place because you weren’t at a NOVA practice.
5) What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received from Coach Jerry?
I’ve been fortunate to receive some great advice from Coach Jerry, but the best is probably the simplest. He says it to each of us almost every week, but you have to pick up on it. And that is, “I’ll see you out there.” To me, those words are a commitment that Jerry is going to be out there until the last person finishes their workout. “I’ll see you out there” also means that you should be out there, every week, putting in the work you need to be successful. That’s the only advice you need, so get out there.
6) What thoughts do you have on your recent performance at the Annapolis 10 Mile?
(Note: Greg finished 10th Overall and 3rd AG, 59:19 in this race). Annapolis is definitely up there on my list of great 10-mile and over performances. It was a tough, hot, and humid day, on an even tougher course. That I was able to stay at a consistent pace, and not let anyone pass me after 1.5 miles, definitely gave me some confidence that I can really gear up for a strong fall season.
7) What non-running fitness related (or other) activities do you enjoy?
Wait, I thought running-related activities were the only thing we were supposed to be doing here? But that’s the other good part about NOVA, that everyone has so many other things besides running going on in their lives, and the team is more interesting for that. I like getting out on the Potomac when I can for some fishing in my kayak. I also enjoy a good hike and working in my vegetable garden out in Sterling. And spending time with my wife Erin, who I met on the TC Williams track at my first NOVA practice in 2014.