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Catching Up With Aaron Braun - .US Champs Edition

It’s been a season of change for Aaron Braun in 2013. Changing training bases from Flagstaff to Colorado, becoming a father and focusing his fall efforts on a couple road races instead of a marathon, Braun is seeing his fitness peak at the perfect time in the season.

Braun finished a strong third at the NYRR Dash to the Finish 5k behind Olympians Nick Willis and Bernard Lagat two weeks ago, but left feeling he still had more left to give and now sets his focus on the .US National Road Racing Championships this Sunday, keenly aware of being one of the pre-race favorites and eyeing his first national title.

We caught up with Braun this week, discussing his race in NYC, what his expectations are heading into this weekend and how he approaches road racing compared to the track.

Follow Aaron on Twitter | Check out Aaron’s new website

Scott Bush (SB): You finished an impressive third place at the NYRR Dash to the Finish 5k. How do you feel about the race looking back on it?

Aaron Braun (AB): I am ok with how the NYRR Dash to the Finish 5k went; I was using it as a tune-up race for this weekend's race, and think that it did that job. Because it was a tune-up, I didn't taper as much as I usually do, and therefore felt a little more tired than I should have felt at the end of the race, which I believe zapped me of a potential winning kick. I am hoping with extra rest leading up to this race, I will have the strength to pull off the win.
 
SB: This weekend in Alexandria, you have a great shot to win the .US National Road Racing Championships. How's your training? Do you feel ready to race?

AB: I have been looking forward to this race all season. Once I made the decision to not run a fall marathon (mainly because of a small injury in the summer) I looked at this race and the Manchester Road Race that I will be the defending champion on Thanksgiving Day, as two races that I can try to run my very best at to finish a fall season.

Therefore, all of the training I have been doing since July has been geared towards these next two weeks. I feel like I am in great shape, hitting some great workouts in the last couple months. I also still feel fresh mentally which is huge for me. Making it through a season without burning out has been an issue during the end of some of my previous seasons, but I know that will not be the case this year, because I am looking forward to the competition of the race itself, not looking forward to it being over; which is a big difference in mentality.
 
SB: How do you approach a road race compared to your approach for a track race?

AB: I enjoy the competition of road races. Much like a championship race on the track, I enter with a focus on how I will place. At some track races, my mind shifts towards a focus of trying to hit a certain time goal. But road races are just like championship style track races, I don't care about how fast or slow my time ends up being, I just want to place as high as I can.

SB: The field is strong Sunday and there's a good amount of prize money on the line. If it comes down to a sprint to the finish, are you the man to take the win?
 
AB: I am very excited for the opportunity to again compete against some of the best runners in the country. I know that coming away with my first national title will be no easy task. I have come very close to winning my first, it seems like countless times. But I feel like with the kind of fitness I have, and the focused mentality I have going in, that this should be my best shot yet of finally breaking the tape first.

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