In just a few hours, the US might have a new record on the books. Olympic silver medalist and Team HOTSHOT athlete Evan Jager is off to a strong start at the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London. Dubbed the “fastest athlete in the world in 2017 ,” Jager aptly won the second heat with an impressive 8:20.36 in the 3000M Steeplechase on August 6th . Could this be just a preview of him becoming the first US Steeplechaser to snag the title of World Champion on Tuesday’s race? While we wait to find out, learn more about his road to London in his interview below.
*UPDATE: Jager placed third, winning the Bronze medal, becoming the first American to win a medal in the Steeple at the World Championships
Winning your 6th US title in the steeplechase at 8:16.88 secured your ticket on the US Team for the London Championships. How did it feel to qualify? Making this team was actually a lot of fun. I was able to run the US champs in a way that I haven't before: with a 56-second last lap, which is something that I have never done in a race. In years past, making the team has been more of a relief than a joy, but the way I was able to run this year was just pure fun. And I was pretty confident going into the US Champs but you never truly know you're going to make the team until the race is over -- at least that's how I like to approach the race.
You said that that race was windy! How do you prepare to race against various elements? The only thing you can really do is go into workouts and be mentally tough no matter what the conditions are. It may be windy, raining, hot or cold but you have to just get the work in regardless. We hardly ever change workouts because of the conditions. If the weather sucks, you just have to suck it up yourself.
What is it like to mentally train and prepare for the London Championships? I have just been trying to keep myself mentally relaxed in workouts, especially when they are really hard. I know that the World Championships are going to be a very challenging race, mentally and physically, so being able to reproduce that mentality will be crucial.
Your Instagram stories show that you’ve been traveling throughout Europe training and racing all summer. Where is your favorite place to train? How do you assimilate to various locations? I've been in St. Moritz, Switzerland the whole summer since the US Champs and this is definitely my favorite place to train in Europe. It is absolutely beautiful here with mountains, lakes and pristine running trails.
Which athlete do you look up to, be it in running or other sports? Honestly, I've really only looked up to my teammates throughout the years. I have had so many different teammates that have been unique in their own ways as far as training, racing and lifestyle go, and I have paid attention to all of them and try to take bits and pieces of everyone’s habits to make myself a better athlete.
Can you share some insights and any behind the scenes about training and racing professionally? Training as a professional is great, but you have to have the right mind for it. I feel to succeed at the highest level, you have to be a little boring for a good chunk of the year. Eat, run, eat, sleep, run, lift, eat and sleep. That's a typical day and you don't do much else outside of that. Racing on the other hand is incredibly exciting. I get to travel to places I would have never traveled otherwise and race in huge stadiums with a lot on the line. The adrenaline itself is addicting. I love what I do.
Good luck, Evan!
MORE ON THE HOTSHOT BLOG
Fuel like a Pro: Olympic Steeplechase athlete Colleen Quigley
Bronze Medalist Amy Cragg: Her training plans for London Championships (and nailing third place).
Tim Reed: The 70.3 Champion talks nutrition, training and recovery.