Athlete of the Week: Joshua Janusiak (Cross County)


Photo by Emei Thompson

Today I had the pleasure to sit down with Joshua Janusiak. Joshua was named midwest conference performer of the week. Joshua is a sophomore at Lawrence and is making a name for himself. In the three cross country meets this year he has finished in third place, second place, and 15th place. In his 15th place finish at the Brissman-Lundeen Invite, Joshua set the fastest time so far this year in the Midwest Conference at the 8K distance.

Shane Farrell: You’re only a sophomore and already one of the best runners at Lawrence, where do you think your ceiling is?

Joshua Janusiak: I have found that I have the most success as a runner thinking about time goals instead of my place or the athletes I am racing with because you will always be able to run a better time but you will not be able to get better than a win. You can’t be completely satisfied in the long term with only scoring near the top in your conference, division, or even state—although of course you can and should be happy in the short term! Although I wouldn’t be realistically competitive with the best in the nation right now, I like to run every meet like it is a stepping stone on the way; I want to say that my hypothetical ceiling as a runner would be the same ceiling that the best runners in the nation are standing under! For me, it’s all in the ambitious long-term goals and pushing yourself as hard as you can in your stepping-stone races so those goals become more realistic.

SF: How do you stay fit in the offseason?

JJ: Distance running is definitely a lifestyle – we train year-round! I take about two weeks off after the track season and after the cross season but other than that we are always running mileage. I guess the difference would be that in the off-season, our goal is to build up our ‘aerobic base’ and ‘lactate threshold’ with longer hard workouts, while during the competitive seasons we run some quicker stuff combined with the mileage to fine tune.

SF: What is your favorite weather to run in?

JJ: Fall is my absolute favorite time of the year for running – nothing is better than a 65-degree, overcast, colorful-leaved, crisp-aired October day when you are starting to feel extra fresh from tapering at the end of the cross season! Finish these runs with pumpkin-flavored something for the ideal day.

SF: How do you feel you raced at the Brissman-Lundeen Invitational?

JJ: The Brissman-Lundeen Invite was pretty tough physically for most of us (heat and humidity), but I am very happy with how everyone raced, and I was excited to break 26:00 in the 8K with so many meets left to go.

SF: What do you enjoy more, track or cross country? Why?

JJ: I used to automatically say that cross country is my favorite, and I think it still is since it takes place in the fall and running through the woods and on grass is much more interesting than the track, but now that I run the 10K in track it is harder to choose between the two because I always like longer distance races better.

SF: Take me through your pre-race warm up. What are you thinking and doing?

JJ: I feel pretty atypical regarding my warm up preferences. I love engaging in useless, stupid humor conversations throughout most of the warm up process (and just in my life in general, who am I kidding) and remaining casual. Taylor Swift and most basic pop songs put me in an excited mood to race. I’ve never liked that over-serious, super in-the-zone/avoiding-talking-to-everyone mentality, although I like to tone down the humor and focus once we get to the line to do drills before meets. Honestly, the minutes before the gun goes off are the worst because I usually feel a little sick and question my sport a lot, but once the race is over there is nothing better than that euphoric exhaustion and fulfillment.