Getting to Know Joanna Thompson
Oct. 24, 2013
Each week GoPack.com will catch up with a different member of the cross country team to find out a little more about them. Today, we sit down with Joanna Thompson, a junior from Knoxville Catholic in Knoxville, Tenn.
Thompson has earned All-ACC honors and been named All-NCAA Southeast Region both her freshman and sophomore seasons. In her junior season, she has led the Wolfpack in each race, finishing second in the Wolfpack Invitational, 10th in the Roy Griak Invitational and 17th in the Wisconsin Invitational.
How was the Wisconsin Invitational, I heard it was really cold? (the temperature at the start of the race was 38 degrees).
“It got pretty chilly, definitely not quite what we’re used to in terms of temperature, but I actually like running in cold weather.”
Do you factor the conditions in to your pre-race plan, or do you just go out there and perform?
“When it comes down to it, everyone is running in the same conditions. You just kind of go out there and don’t think about it.”
How does your in-season training work?
“For me, individually, I focus on the 10k during track season, so I’m a little bit more high-mileage than some of the others in the program. I run about 80 miles a week (for cross country), but we have people who run anywhere from 35 miles up to 80 miles a week. Some of the guys run 110, 115 miles a week.”
Do you run the same distance each day to reach the 80 miles, or do you vary it up?
“It varies. We always have long runs, usually on Saturdays. Then we’ll have two days a week where we’ll do interval workouts. Then we’ll have one moderate long run per week and then two other days that are a standard length run. Other times, people who are higher-mileage will double, so you’ll run eight or nine miles in the morning and then three or four more in the afternoon.”
Is there any other aspect that goes into your training besides running?
“We do a lot of strength training actually. We go to the weight room at least twice a week. We’ll do circuits and a lot of body weight exercise. We do abs twice a week also and then make sure you get enough rest and eat right and sleep. It’s all pretty important.”
How quickly does it take your body to recover from practice during the week?
“That kind of depends. We usually take Sundays off during the week, or we’ll do some light cross training or something. I would say leading up to a race, a lot of times we’ll reduce the mileage and kind of get a taper so you’re a little bit more rested going into the race. As far as recovery afterwards, sometimes if you have a difficult race it might take you a little longer to recover. But we’ll usually have a couple of days following a race where we go a little bit easier.”
Do you get any specific treatment?
“I have a massage therapist that I try to see every other week. And they have these really cool new machines in the training room that are called ‘Recovery Machines’, it’s basically electrical stimulation. So you hook all these electrodes up to your legs and they send a pulse through. I tried it for the first time today so we’ll see how good it works.”
How did you decide to major in Zoology?
“Zoology is something I’ve always wanted to do. It’s basically studying animals, not animal science per se – that’s more oriented toward the industry – where zoology is more research oriented. A lot of people major in zoology for pre-vet or do what I want to do, which is research-based study. My dad is a doctor, so having grown up around medicine I don’t think I would be able to handle surgery (laughs). What I really want to do is conduct research and write for a journal – maybe National Geographic or something like that.”
How do you manage your time and make time to study?
“I’ve always been one of those people who works better when they are busy. I have stuff timed down to the minute and feel more productive if I have a lot of structure with my schedule.”
What do you to unwind when you aren’t busy with cross country or studying?
“I love cooking. So I do a lot of cooking, I do a lot of baking and I really like to draw.”
What is the best dish that you make?
“I make a really good cheesecake. I make chili and cornbread a lot when we have team dinners, so that’s one of my go-to things to make.”
I guess with cheesecake, you can make it but can’t really have any of it?
“(Laughs). Cheesecake is one of those things you save for after a really long run.”
How did someone from Knoxville, Tenn. end up at NC State?
“I was recruited here and recruited pretty heavily by Tennessee and few smaller schools in the state of Tennessee. The zoology program was one of the main reasons I came here. It’s kind of a hard undergraduate degree to find and NC State not only has a zoology program, but has one of the best zoology programs in the country. Also, one of the guys on the track team – Matt Sonnenfeldt – lives a mile down the street from me in Knoxville. And Michael Mansy, his dad and my mom ran in college together so they are really good friends. So we basically have known each other our whole lives and he came here and told me how great it was.”