Woody Kincaid Returns After Winning The 2023 USATF Outdoor 10,000m Title

"I feel my engine is stronger than ever. This is a good time. What do I think I can do? I think the pipedream is that I can win the whole thing. But that’s not how I’m going to go in. I’m going to go in to compete, take every wave and hit every move."

My guest for today’s episode is Woody Kincaid. The former CITIUS MAG Podcaster is back after winning the U.S. 10,000 meter title for the second time in three years. He won in 28:23.01 – which was highlighted by a 54.76s for the final lap and a 26.43 for the last 200m. He finished 9th in the 5000m, which he will lend further context to. This is the first time that he joins the show since switching coaches from Jerry Schumacher and the Bowerman Track Club last year to Mike Smith.

The training group that includes World Championship 4th place finisher Luis Grijalva, as well as the newly-minted U.S. 5000m champion Abdihamid Nur and 1500m champion Nikki Hiltz, has started to go by Death Row Records. Kincaid has been on fire. During the indoor season, he broke Grant Fisher’s U.S. indoor 5000m record with a 12:51.61. He also ran 27:06.37 for the 10,000m in March. He also ran 12:54.40 while unleashing an epic 54-second final kick to move from 15th to 6th on the final lap. He’s got big aspirations for the world championships, where he will focus all of his efforts on the 10,000 meters.

Host: Chris Chavez

Guest: Woody Kincaid

Woody Kincaid - CITIUS MAG PodcastWoody Kincaid - CITIUS MAG Podcast

Johnny Zhang/@jzsnapz


At what point in a race do you feel like, ’OK. I’ll start trying now.’

“The thing is I don’t feel good running – ever…I have faith that I can run harder but it’s not sustainable for me. I’ve taken races at the front and I don’t have that same extra 1% that I get from chasing someone down. I wouldn’t say it’s “trying” because I’m trying the whole time but I’m able to unlock another part of my fitness when I’m chasing someone down. I think some people feed off of ‘I’m dominating this race’ by going out and hammering these people. They get energy from that. I get energy from locking in and being like, ‘OK. I’m staying in this race. This is what I’m doing. I’m not letting them get away.’ I can kick at the end.

I get a little bit defensive about it because a lot of people LOVE the frontrunner. That’s bravery to them in some sense. I think racing is a brave experience, either way, you do it. Anyone who has raced hard understands that any way of racing is a humbling experience. It’s really hard to sit and kick and it’s really hard to press from the front. Each one of those ways has advantages. I know myself well enough that I’m able to bring more out of myself by saying, ‘I’m not going to let this race go.’ I’m going to lock into whoever I trust the most, frankly.

Credit to Joe Klecker. I just trust that he’s going to be there in the race. I would be silly not to think that he’s going to be up there. I have that advantage over him in that last lap. I know he’s super good. He’s like Charizard out there. He’s an elite gu. But I’m Blastoise. We’re both elite but I’m a water type and he’s a fire type. He can still beat me but it’s going to have to be a critical hit kind of thing.”

Woody Kincaid - 10,000mWoody Kincaid - 10,000m

Johnny Zhang/@jzsnapz

A healthy and confident Woody Kincaid at Worlds. What is he capable of on the World stage?

I have this feeling that it’s just a good year. I really think that this is the time to do it. Last year, I can’t even begin to tell you where my head was at. I was dealing with a lot. My dad had passed away. My girlfriend had just broken up with me. We found out that we were making this move to Eugene. There were just a lot of things going out that were just weighing on me going into that entire year. Finally, this year – I’m in a new situation. The training is going super well. I feel my engine is stronger than ever. This is a good time. What do I think I can do? I think the pipedream is that I can win the whole thing. But that’s not how I’m going to go in. I’m going to go in to compete, take every wave and hit every move. It’s a good time. Last year was not my year. That’s just not how it was going to go.

Tokyo as well. It was my first world championship. I didn’t have a lot of experience doing either of them. COVID took a big toll on me because I don’t do well in the very regimented that COVID was handled. I was very stressed that entire Olympics. A lot of things have really come together this year that make me very optimistic for this 10K.”

What have you made of the way Cheptegei and the others command these races?

“You have to be ready to expect it to go fast and slow. Nobody really has a point that’s going to break them. It’s not going to be like, ‘They can’t handle this.’ But at the same time, what I’ve learned about the 10K that’s different from the 5K is those little bursts and moves are not as important in the 10K as they are in the 5K. In the 5K, those little pushes are make or break and the difference between running a 58 or a 60 (for a lap). But in the 10K, you can kind of hang out and cycle through a lot more and still be there at the end. I think that is also to my advantage. I don’t feel like I don’t have to be in the right place all the time anymore in the 10K. You just have to stay in the race.”

Listen to the episode on the CITIUS MAG Podcast feed. Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and other major podcast publishers.

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Chris Chavez

Chris Chavez launched CITIUS MAG in 2016 as a passion project while working full-time for Sports Illustrated. He covered the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and grew his humble blog into a multi-pronged media company. He completed all six World Marathon Majors and is an aspiring sub-five-minute miler.

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