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February 14, 2014

Pro's Perspective - Jake Schmitt

Written by Dena Evans
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This week on the blog, we are bringing back one of our ongoing series through the years, the Pro’s Perspective.  In this installment, we check in with Jake Schmitt, 2016 Olympic Trials Marathon Qualifier, and marketing manager with

A 2005 Redwood High School grad, Schmitt initially stayed local to his Marin County, California roots by matriculating to UC Berkeley after a national level prep career.  A subsequent transfer to University of Washington yielded many outstanding results for Schmitt, where he finished as one of the conference, region, and nation’s top distance runners with collegiate bests of 13:59 over 5000 meters and 28:53 over 10,000 meters.

After joining the Bay Area Track Club and running full time upon graduation, Schmitt has made a successful transition to a full time job.  He has since finished in 7th place at the 2013 USATF Marathon Championships last October with a sizzling  2:15.  In addition to his traditional work day responsibilities and his training, Schmitt coaches Redwood High School athletes alongside his mom, who continues to coach him as she did during his prep years.


How does Jake keep up the dual pursuits of successful cloud marketing as well as fast times and world-class performances?  Runcoach caught up with him briefly this week to ask…


rc: What is your daily schedule?  How do you manage to balance work and high level running on a day in, day out basis?

JS: My goal is to get up and run every morning (laughs).  I usually do about 45 minutes, probably actually 2-3 times a week.  However, I like to do the bulk of my running in the evening.  I live in the [San Francisco neighborhood] Marina and it is lit and flat, so I am ok with that.  Every Tuesday, I go to Kezar [stadium in Golden Gate Park] for a track workout in the evening, usually 6-8 miles of tempo work.  I save my fast, quality work for Saturdays, and go long on Sunday.  Last week on Tuesday, I did some 800 and 400s at 3K pace as I get ready for a 3000m indoor this weekend.  My goal this spring is to qualify for the USA’s [Outdoor Track and Field Championships] in the 10k, and get my 5k and 10k prs on the track. I try to keep a relaxed approach, so that my day off moves around as needed each week, between Monday to Friday, and I just know that my weekends are going to be big.  I try to run 75-80 miles a week.


rc: We might assume that this would be tough with a full work day, but what are the plusses you have found in keeping this type of schedule?

JS: The most exciting part of running as a professional athlete vs. working full time is the idea of running as play.  When I leave work, it is a total delight to run.  The biggest thing for me is that running immediately became my “outlet” vs. my “struggle.” I’m with brilliant people every day that I respect a lot at work, but one of the great things about coaching high schoolers is that I remember that so many things can go off plan and you can still have success.  Somewhere along the line, you forget about that.  You just control the control-ables and just get on the line and race.


rc:  That sounds very encouraging, but there must be tougher aspects to keeping up two professions at once.  What are some of the difficult parts of your schedule?

JS: What I find is hard is trying to make what I am doing “normal” to other people.  Explaining people why I get up and run in the morning and then again in the evening, or why I eat what I eat.  I don’t want to be up on a “hilltop” by myself, I just want what I do to be normal, and in our culture, running this much or running twice a day is not very common.


rc:  For all the beginners out there just trying to make a fitness goal or complete their first 5K, what encouragement do you have?

JS:  A tactical piece of advice for beginners would be just slow down and make it easy so that you can finish and still go out again tomorrow.  Make it enjoyable!  My motivational advice is the same thing I tell myself.  I’ve been running since I was 6 years old, and it is still hard to get up in the morning and go for a run.  But, every time I do, I feel amazing.  I feel accomplished, relaxed, and I feel great the rest of the day.  If you can just feel that once, it feels so good! It will definitely encourage you to keep going again.

Last modified on November 29, 1999
Dena Evans

Dena Evans

Dena Evans joined runcoach in July, 2008 and has a wide range of experience working with athletes of all stripes- from youth to veteran division competitors, novice to international caliber athletes.

From 1999-2005, she served on the Stanford Track & Field/ Cross Country staff. Dena earned NCAA Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year honors in 2003 as Stanford won the NCAA Division I Championship. She was named Pac-10 Cross Country Coach of the Year in 2003-04, and West Regional Coach of the Year in 2004.

From 2006-08, she worked with the Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiative, helping to expand the after school fitness programs for elementary school aged girls to Mountain View, East Menlo Park, and Redwood City. She has also served both the Stanford Center on Ethics and the Stanford Center on the Legal Profession as a program coordinator.

Dena graduated from Stanford in 1996.

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