Tips From The Top: Soroco's Ben Kelley

Soroco's Ben Kelley has been a dominating figure in 2A for his entire high school career. He was a three-time 800 state champion - setting the state record each time he stepped foot on the track at Jeffco Stadium. 

Perhaps even more impressive are Kelley's seven state titles spanning four events - the 800, 1,600, 3,200, and the 5k. He's got a range that was unrivaled. Additionally, he won a staggering 43 races in high school career. 43

His laundry list of victories only add to his resume, as his 1:52.77 was the fastest half-mile in all classifications this year. And he ran it solo. He's got the speed, and he's got the victories, and now he's sharing what's elevated him to the top. 

Ben Kelley's Tips From The Top:

1. Make cross training your best friend when you're injured or need time off running. It may get tedious, but cross training for 1.5 or two times longer than you would normally spend running is a good way to achieve similar fitness. My personal favorite forms of cross training are cycling, aqua jogging, and using an elliptical machine. Try to implement familiar running workout efforts into your cross training such as intervals and tempos. Examples would be using thera-bands for increased resistance during aqua jogging to mimic a tempo effort or doing multiple cycling intervals of five minutes all out with several minutes rest to mimic longer running repeats.

2. Distance coaches seem to be split on their stances on whether to steer their athletes to lift heavy weights. Personally, my mid-distance preparation includes a lot of weight training. I have found that spending time doing squats and deadlifts, and olympic lifting like power cleans, helps to build explosive muscle fibers and reduce the chance of injury. A good strategy for runners to build power without adding too much mass is to use heavy weight and low reps. Always maintain proper form and lift with a spotter. Consult your coach or other qualified instructor when starting these exercises to ensure the proper techniques and form. In addition to  weight training, workouts such as circuits, hill sprints, and flat sprints will further develop these muscles for more specific running adaptations.

3. Allow yourself to have fun throughout the process of training, even if faced with injury or other obstacles. Don't let it get too serious and remember, running is not meant to be a burden but rather, an enjoyable endeavor. It's easy for athletes to burn themselves out quickly by pushing themselves too hard and too quickly, not reaching a specific goal, or getting injured. Keep a good perspective of the larger picture, understand that running isn't everything, and eat some donuts now and then.