Emma Coburn prepares for return to Olympics

National championships coming up

[ by Than Acuff ]

Not sure if you’ve noticed, but our hometown Olympian Emma Coburn has been in the valley training with the USTAF National Championships June 23-26 and her third trip to the Summer Olympics in Japan in July on the horizon. She answered some questions to bring us up to speed on what she has been up to during the COVID-curtailed track and field season and what lies ahead for her.

Have you been able to race at all the past couple months, either steeplechase or other races?
I raced a few times in February for our indoor track season, and my best result there was that I broke the American Record in the two-mile. I finished behind another American in the race, so I’m not technically the American record holder in that event, she is, but I broke the old record, which is cool! The outdoor track season is underway and I’ve raced twice now. I raced a 1500m in LA where I ran 4:04.2, earning the Olympic Standard (to qualify for the Olympics, you need to finish top three at the Trials and have run the Olympic Standard in the event. I’m not racing the 1500m at the Trials but it is a good sign of fitness that I have the standard in another event). I then went to Doha, Qatar to race the Diamond League steeple. I finished 5th running 9:08.2. It is my second fastest steeple opener ever and considering that I haven’t raced the steeple since September 2019, it was a decent result. It was also 100 degrees out!

Have the pro Diamond League races been happening?
The COVID protocols for the Diamond League races are pretty crazy right now and vary depending on the country. For the Doha Diamond League I had to get a PCR test before traveling to Doha, and then upon arrival, get another PCR test and quarantine in my hotel room for 20 hours until the results came back. I’m fully vaccinated so I think the protocols might be less for me in other races, but for Doha it was pretty thorough. A lot of the Diamond League races had to get pushed back to later in the year because of different countries’ lockdown and quarantine requirements.

Any new tweaks to training/preparation?
Just training hard as usual. I haven’t done anything new really, but since I didn’t steeple in 2020 (no international races in 2020 and no real domestic races that made sense for me), my training for the next several months will be very steeple specific. More hurdling, more workouts simulating the steeple race.

What are your expectations for Olympic Trials? Are you favored to win?
I am favored to win but as always, it will be a tight battle. The woman ranked second is currently the staple American Record holder and won silver in World Champs in 2017 so she is always a big competitor. I hope to win but really just need to finish top three to qualify.

What is your schedule for the Olympics? Both with training and travel?
Right now it’s a bit up in the air with COVID protocols and procedures. TBD.

How are you feeling leading up to your third trip to the Olympics?
I am feeling confident that I know exactly the training I need to do to be successful and am confident that on the start line I will feel calm and focused and not overwhelmed.

What are your goals for the upcoming Olympics?
My goal for Tokyo is to finish on the podium!

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