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Woody Kincaid is Making Wise Choices

Updated: Apr 24, 2023

“April Showers bring May flowers” - and they also melt the snow bringing the winter sports season to a close. April for cross-country skiers is a momentous transition. In early April, we relish those remaining good ski days, enjoying some “crust-skiing” and searching for the last patch of snow; and by the end of April, we are happily running and biking. One season ends, and a new season begins. In this short article, I share some reflections and thoughts as I change from winter to dryland coaching. I will reflect on two articles I read this month and then share my thoughts as I plan for the upcoming year.

Woody Kincaid is an American distance runner. Last fall, he left the high-profile pro team at Bowerman Track Club in search of a different training environment. Mid-winter, Kincaid committed to Mike Smith’s training group. This is a small, multi-aged elite training group. Mike Smith is also the Head Coach of NCAA running program at Northern Arizona University. In an article by Jessica Whittington for World Athletics (April 12, 2023,, Kincaid said,

“At Bowerman, everybody is already an expert, or they are doing their own thing. But with them (Smith’s group), I feel like I can help in a situation, I can help them develop as runners. But they are also making me relax and focus back on the fundamentals – getting back to showing up at practice, having a good time and pushing myself in workouts, and not worrying about things outside of running that I think can be distracting.”

I should point out that Kincaid is 30 years old. He has a few seasons remaining as a competitive international runner. It seems counter that an elite runner at that age would decide to move from an individualized system to one that the coach is focusing on the group. However, Kincaid says this allows him to be more relaxed and work on “fundamentals," and I think, importantly, he is "having a good time" and pushing himself.

The second piece I draw on is by Siren Amelia Seiler. Siren is also a runner. In addition, she is a sport science graduate student and a coach and the daughter of a top sports physiologist Stephan Seiler. Siren’s article is titled, Back to the Roots: Endurance training is so easy, yet we make it very complicated. In the article, Siren highlights the basics of good training and summarizes with this Take Home Message.

“A sustainable training volume, intensity discipline, adequate sleep, and proper nutrition, are the fundamentals of endurance training. And really, it is all you need to become really good. Instead of focusing on the 2% gains through superfoods and recovery tools, focus on the 98% of progress that can be achieved through going out the door every day and doing the work”.

Hmm? Is this what Woody Kincaid has intuited in his search for a different training environment? Is this what Mike Smith’s group offers through a focus on the group rather than the individual? This thought will be central in my reflections and planning for the 2023-24 year - do the basics well, daily, in a supportive and passionate group. Thanks, Woody. You are a wise runner.


The event will take place at the Old Ottawa South Community Centre, 260 Sunnyside Ave Ottawa, ON K1S 0R7. Eventbrite registration page:

Mile2Marathon and The First Lap Coaching are excited to collaborate on a speaker series to promote the health, wellness and knowledge sharing for endurance athletes.

Our first speaker will be Dr. Bradley W. Young, a Full Professor in the Department of Human Kinetics at the University of Ottawa. Brad is an active researcher in the psychology of sport and physical activity and sport pedagogy.

He researches the psychological aspects of middle-aged and older Masters athletes’ participation in sport, specifically examining strategies to motivate the older athlete, to alleviate barriers to Masters sport involvement, and to enhance the social environment of aging athletes to promote prolonged sport commitment.


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