One-on-One: Abbey D'Agostino '14
On Sunday, former Dartmouth women’s track and cross country star and 13-time All-American runner Abbey D’Agostino ’14 earned a spot in the World Championships in Beijing. The Dartmouth sat down with her to discuss her post-graduate running career, her training plan and this most recent success.
What have you been doing since you graduated?
AD: Basically, I signed a contract with New Balance last June, right after graduating and moved to Boston at the end of the summer and joined this new group, this new elite team, that New Balance just started in Boston. It’s being coached by Mark Coogan who was my coach at Dartmouth as well. We have currently four solid women. We had about seven and after a year, changes are expected and so it’s all women on our team and I’ve been training there and had an injury earlier this year and worked through that and was really fortunate to come back and be healthy in time for the USA Championships because that was kind of the most immediate goal right after graduating. We were training for this past weekend.
How long ago was the injury?
AD: February 2 is when I was diagnosed. I wasn’t running for eight weeks and I was doing the... treadmill. I was in the pool. I didn’t take any time off because I was cross training, just not running. I had to come back slowly and here we are.
But then you set a personal record, right after coming back?
AD: The timing was right. I was fortunate to have a smart coach who was conservative on getting me back. It was slow to start, for sure. The first race back was a little rocky, but I took baby steps.
Has it been useful for you, having a coach that kind of knows you?
AD: Yeah, oh my gosh. That’s been kind of essential, I think, to this success, especially my first year out. I think that’s often times one of the hardest pieces of the transition from college to professional running for most elite runners. As soon as I found out that[Coogan] had taken that position, I had my eyes on moving to Boston as well, and it’s been a good fit.
Has the training changed significantly?
AD: I think for the most part the training has been about the same. I was trying to boost my mileage a bit right before I got injured but I don’t think it was just the mileage. We were out training at altitude in Boulder. There was just a lot of change. I don’t think the mileage was that big of a deal. After I got injured, we decided to stick with what I have been doing at Dartmouth with the addition of some strength work to try to make sure I was recovering and could prevent the type of injury that I had from happening again.
Was Worlds your goal this year or was there a different goal?
AD: This meet definitely had a star next to it. The World Championships in track and field are unique because they are just track and field. The Olympics are special because it’s such a renowned competition and it’s so well known. But in the track world, it is arguably more important. There is steeper competition. The stars aligned and I’ll be really excited to compete there in August.
Between now and then, what are you going to be doing and what are your goals for that meet?
AD: On Saturday, well I’m at the airport right now and I’m going back to Boston today, but Saturday we’ll fly to Ireland and do a few races in Europe and do just three actually in two weeks. We’ll come back and have a training stint in Boston from the end of July to [mid-August] and then I’ll fly into Japan. They don’t want us flying into Beijing because of the air quality, so there is a training camp, pre-Worlds, in Japan. We’ll fly there, get adjusted to the time there and all that and then fly to Beijing three days before we race.
Do you have to work another job while you do all this?
AD: No. I’m doing this full-time. But there are people who do it. It’s tough but they do it... [Teammate] Megan Krumpoch [’14 ]works full-time and competed this weekend at USA’s. She didn’t qualify but she was on the world-record breaking distance medley team in the winter. The women who won the 5000 this past weekend work full time. Different things work for different people, obviously. It’s incredible what some athletes are doing.
You said that Krumpoch was on your team, and you’re going to Worlds with another Dartmouth alum, Ben True ’08. You still have interactions with people who know you as a Dartmouth student, not just an athlete. What’s that like?
AD: Yeah, absolutely. That’s a really special connection just because [True] was always a source of inspiration for me while still in college. Of course, he’s a few years older and was already training professionally in Hanover, but he’s just such a work horse and I think the amount of drive it takes to train alone in Hanover is something amazing. To have a Dartmouth presence and a source of familiarity and comfort is really, really important, especially as we get to an even bigger stage in August. You kind of really hold on to what’s familiar in that really uncomfortable environment of traveling and racing.