Hanna Green is an American track and field athlete, known for middle-distance races, primarily 800 meters. She went to high school at Greater Latrobe Senior High School in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. She won the IAAF Diamond League Meeting de Paris 800 in 1:58.39 in 2019.
How does it feel now that things are slowly getting back to normal with races and training?
I was lucky that my training hasn’t really been affected throughout the pandemic. It has been a little weird though getting back into racing. Having had almost a year with no racing I was worried that I wouldn’t even remember how to do it. Also having spent so much time being around people in masks it felt strange to race again and be near people without them on. Now that I am back into racing I am super excited and looking forward to the constant traveling and competing again!
What's one of the biggest things you missed since the beginning of Covid restrictions?
I have really missed being able to see family and friends as frequently as I would like. Especially since my family lives on the other side of the country and traveling was discouraged throughout most of last year and even this year is still a risk.
How did you keep yourself motivated considering nobody knew when we would get to this point?
After hearing the announcement of the Olympics being delayed last spring at first I was a little upset. I soon realized though that if I was able to improve as much as I did up until then that I could continue to get even better and really work on improving things that I had been ignoring in the past. It gave me time to work on my form and strengthen any weaknesses that had been impacting my performance. The excitement in knowing that I had all of these improvements I still had to make and the potential I could have with these changes was what kept me motivated.
What are your goals for 2021?
My main goal is to make the Olympic team and to medal. I also would love to run new personal bests in both the 800 meter and 1500 meter distances.
What made you choose to run the 800 and 1500?
I don’t know that it was really a choice I think it just kind of happened. Everyone most enjoys doing what they are good at and my strength just happened to be in middle distance running.
What made you switch to the longer distances after running the 400 in high school?
I actually started by mainly focusing on the mile in middle school and the beginning of high school and then worked my way down to the 400 my junior and senior year. All throughout that time I was also running cross country and doing really well at that. My soon to be coach at Virginia Tech, Ben Thomas, recognized that between running the 400 and cross country I had potential to be pretty good at the 800 and 1500 and once I decided to go there that's when I started running the 800 and realized he was right.
What has been your most memorable race to date?
The Pre Classic was extremely memorable for me. It was my first diamond league race and first time racing at a world class level. It was also my first time breaking 2 minutes in the 800 which is something I had been trying to do for a long time. It gave me a lot of confidence after that and opened a lot of doors in the racing world going forward.
What does your weight training consist of and which exercise do you feel helps your running the most?
Jim Radcliffe the head strength coach at the University of Oregon runs our weight training program. We meet up with him twice a week and he writes us a different plan for each session. I hadn’t done much weight training until I joined OTC so I think just doing more of the weight training in general has helped my running. Some of the exercises that I think have been most beneficial are the more explosive exercises like cleans and step ups.
What's the weirdest or funniest thing that ever happened to you while running?
One time while I was out on a run pretty far into the woods I found this tiny fluffy white dog who I could tell really didn’t belong there. I stayed there awhile waiting to see if someone would show up to find him but no one did. I checked his collar (his name was Squirt) and found the owners phone number. I didn’t have my phone but at this point Squirt and I had already bonded and he followed me home so I could get my phone. As someone who loves dogs and has always talked about wanting to get one there was nothing funnier than seeing my roommates faces when I walked into the house holding Squirt and them thinking I had found and brought home a stray to keep. I did call the owners and Squirt made it safely back to his home.
What's your biggest pet peeve?
My biggest pet peeve is when people aren’t reliable, meaning they say that they are going to do something and then don’t do it.
What's your biggest fear?
Spiders. Let a giant spider chase me around a track and I just might run a world record.
What's it like to run for the Nike Oregon Track Club?
It has been amazing running for the Nike Oregon Track Club. Mark Rowland is a great coach and I have some really awesome teammates. I have also loved being able to live and train in Eugene, Oregon, nowhere else in the world is there such a large community fanbase for track. To be a part of a team with such rich history and success is really humbling, especially knowing the previous athletes who have worn the OTC uniform before me.
Who would you say is the funniest teammate?
We don’t have many comedians on the roster but we do have a lot of interesting characters. Nijel Amos has a funny personality and is full of crazy stories that make everyone laugh. Also as someone who wasn’t born in America and had a very different upbringing, he has very different ways of looking at life and putting things into perspective which can sometimes seem funny to the rest of us.
Do you like ice baths?
I wouldn’t say that I like ice baths but I don’t mind taking them. I know how beneficial they can be to recovery which makes them worth it. I definitely always have something to distract myself while taking them though, whether it’s reading or watching something on my phone.
In your free time when you’re not running, what hobby’s do you enjoy?
I have so many hobbies but mainly I love baking, drawing/painting, and gardening. Luckily I live with teammates who love to eat all of the baked goods that I am always making.
What's the most important tip you like to give new runners?
I would tell a new runner to be patient. Running isn’t easy and it takes time to build up strength and get faster and more efficient.
When it comes to running, what would you say is your biggest strength and weakness?
I would say that my biggest strength is my competitiveness. I'm always striving to be the best. On the other hand, my biggest weakness would probably be getting off of the start line. I swear I lose at least half a second every race because of my slow reaction off of the line.
Who is someone you look up to in the sport?
Believe it or not, I never really followed running as a sport until more recently when I began running as a professional. Over the past few years though I have really looked up to my older teammates on OTC. Sally Kipyego and Francine Niyonsaba have been competing in the sport for a long time and doing it really successfully and I think there is a lot to be learned from them. They are both very strong both physically and mentally. Even from the few years I have been able to be around them and learn from them they have showed me what true world class athletes look like.
Who is one of your favorite athletes to train with?
I have loved having the opportunity to train with my teammate Francine Niyonsaba. She has been such an inspiration to me and was one of the big reasons that I joined the club in the first place. Francine pushed me to be the best I could be and was always extremely encouraging. She would always make practices fun by joking around but was all business when it came to the workout and would give it everything she had.
What's next for you?
Next up is a training camp up in Flagstaff, Arizona for a few weeks and then getting in some quick races before the Olympic Trials, where I will be aiming to make my first Olympic team!
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Published May 15, 2021