Athlete of the Week :Josh Janusiak

Photo by Emei Thompson.

This week I sat down with Lawrence’s own version of “The Flash,” junior Josh Janusiak. Josh has continuously broken his own records year after year. On April 27, Josh smashed his own school record in the 10,000 meters and ran one of the nation’s top times at the Hillsdale College Gina Relays. His time currently ranks 11th in all of NCAA Division III. We can’t wait to see more from Josh this season!


Arianna Cohen: It seems like every time I see a tweet from the Lawrence Athletics account, it’s about you breaking your own records. That is so incredible. What goes through your mind the second you realize you broke your own record?

Josh Janusiak: Thank you! I really enjoy racing the 10k because it is the longest race in collegiate track and field, and I am the most confident with the longer distances. The first few times I broke the records of other Lawrence athletes, I felt really connected to their legacies because I could feel how hard they must have trained to run such quick times, and it’s really cool to figure out where my performances stand in relation to other successful athletes. Now that some of the records I’m breaking are my own, I feel like I’m breaking new ground a little bit and I feel proud knowing that my records are ones that other athletes will aspire to break.


AC: What are some things you do, training-wise, that help you in a race?

JJ: I like to think about the longest runs I’ve ever done, because most of the races we have in track are only a small portion of those distances. Interval workouts are another great source of confidence and speed training. We run most of these workouts at a little bit faster than race pace for a total distance that’s usually equivalent to the distance of the race we’re training for, but we get the added benefit of breaks in between. If I take away the few little breaks and string all the intervals together, I’ve got myself a personal-record-breaking race! I think it’s important to conceptualize hard workouts in terms of races so that you don’t get intimidated when race day actually arrives.


AC: As you go into your final month of this season, what are some of your own personal goals? What are some of the team goals?

JJ: At this point in the season, since I’ve already run what I hope and think will be a national-qualifying time, I just want to focus on staying very healthy and fine-tuning my training with faster workouts. Our team is also really looking forward to our conference meet because it is the culmination and celebration of the progress we’ve all been able to make over the course of the season, and there’s a lot of enthusiasm involved!


AC: What has been your favorite part of the outdoor season thus far?

JJ: The 5k that I recently ran in Azusa, Calif., was an incredible experience that I cannot stop thinking about. It felt incredible to be racing with such a dense field of runners, and it was really inspiring to see people who were so much faster than me because it reminds me that there’s a whole world of athletic potential which I haven’t even begun to approach yet, but that is available to me if I keep working to devote myself to this sport.


AC: What do you do right before a race to get in the zone?

JJ: I am different from a lot of runners that I know because I like to joke around a LOT, which is often too much for other people. It makes me feel good to laugh and it helps me put things into perspective; I actually think it’s helpful to take some of the focus off of the race as a stressful obstacle and to place it back on myself and my own intentions. Sometimes I enjoy sitting there quietly and trying to become as calm as possible, which usually entails focusing on nature. As many people probably already know, listening to Taylor Swift is always motivating; I like that her music has a lot of emotional meaning and that it makes me feel calm but also very mentally alive at the same time.