Aiyanna has been running for about 9 years and didn’t start to take track and field serious until her sophomore year of high school. One of her friends used to run track when she younger, about 5th or 6th grade and she thought it looked cool so she ran for about a season but decided to quit after the coaches made her run 800 meters. But after exploring a few other sports she ended up back on the track after middle school.
After all that you've accomplished, what drives you to continue running?
I haven’t reached my full potential yet. I have a lot more work to do and I haven’t reached my goal. I wake up every
day and try to be better than the last practice or last race.
How do you motivate yourself on days when you don't feel like running?
I remind myself about all the time I’ve spent to get to where I am, all of the practices that were harder, and all the
support I’ve had. I’m still working to be better and I have to remember that my competition is still working. If I want to
win, I can’t stop.
What are the differences in training for a 200 meter race versus a 400 meter race?
A 200 meter race requires you to be a more aggressive runner. You have to be able to make the switch mentally in
order for your body to react. Yes, both events are sprints, but you have to be sharper for a 200. The 400 gives the
strength and endurance to finish a 200 well while a 200 let’s you know you have the speed you need for a 400.
If you had to choose between the two distances, which would you prefer and why?
The 200 because it’s half the distance and way more fun, but I’d still want to train as if I’m running the 400.
What does your weight training consist of and which exercise do you feel helps your running the most?
Weight training depends on what point I’m at in the season, but the exercises are the same. If it’s base training in the
fall, I lift heavier and during season we focus more on speed and movement of the bar to mimic how I move on the
track. Clean and jerk helps the most.
What's the weirdest or funniest thing that ever happened to you while running?
I’m so clumsy so I trip over myself all the time so at this point it’s just become natural.
What was it like being a teammate with Shakima Wimbley?
I’ve known Shakima since high school. We used to run against each other. We were also on the 2014 world junior
team together. Before I transferred to UM, I was running with the boys in order to have someone push me at practice
at my old school. It was great to have someone to keep up with or go after at practice. I love watching her grow as an
What's the FSU/UM rivalry like when it comes to track and field?
The rivalry is just as deep as it is for football. Of course, we don’t talk as much trash as football players, but we show
it on the track all the same. Both of my parents went to UM and my dad was on the football team. I grew up thinking
FSU was a rival and it was even more exciting as a member of the team.
What's your favorite types of fuel for running and why?
I try to make sure I’m hydrated well before every practice and meet. I don’t eat much on race day, so I focus on eating
well the night before. I focus on getting my electrolytes in since I live in South Florida and the humidity is intense. I
love Nuun hydration tablets when I feel like I need an extra boost and fresh fruits like bananas and cherries when I
need something in between.
What's your favorite cheat food and drink?
I absolutely love French fries and Jarritos mandarin soda.
Have you been able to train with some of the top Canadians like Khamica Bingham, Cystal Emmanuel, Shai-Anne
Davis? If so, what's that experience been like?
Since we run different events I haven’t trained with any of these women, but I’ve been on a team with Khamica and
Crystal. I met them when I made my first world championship team and was the youngest on the team. They both
made me feel welcome.
Do you like ice baths? Why or why not?
I wouldn’t say I like ice baths, but I know sometimes they are necessary. If you get in more often it won’t be as bad,
but I’d rather sit with bags of ice on my hamstrings, quads, and calves than be in the actual tub. I got out of the habit
of getting in so I’m not the biggest fan.
In your free time when you’re not running, what other hobby’s do you enjoy?
I love to find and try new restaurants, so if eating food is a hobby that’s mine.
What's the most important tip you like to give new runners?
Make sure you understand your body and what works for you. You won’t be successful if you’re not healthy and not
aware of these things.
Do you think you'd ever consider running a middle or long distance race one day? Why or why not?
People always tell me I should run an 800 because of my size. I think I could run a pretty decent time, but training for
an 800 is a ball game I’m not ready for. Last time I ran one I quit track for 3 years. At UTEP I ran at a cross country
meet, it wasn’t pretty.
What's been your favorite venue to race at and why?
My favorite is the Bird’s Nest in Beijing. I can’t describe the feeling I got when I walked into that stadium for the first
time. That moment made me love the sport even more plus it’s a beautiful venue.
What is your favorite running accomplishment so far?
So far my favorite was winning my first national title. I had run 3 races that day and ran a personal best to win. It was
a moment I literally dreamed about most of the season. It felt great that it came true.
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Published August 4, 2018