3 Reasons Cam Levins Will Run Faster Than Ever
Unless you've been living under a rock the last week, you know by now that Cam Levins has decided to leave the Nike Oregon Project and begin working with his Southern Utah University coach, Eric Houle. To many, this may seem like a downgrade - Alberto's group has been one of the most successful distance groups in the world for the last 5 years. They've got the Olympians, the world-class training facilities, the cutting-edge (sometimes too cutting-edge) sport scientists at Nike, and the financial backing that most pro track and field athletes would die for.
Eric Houle and Southern Utah have none of those things. But for Cam, a guy who built his legacy by pounding out 180+ mile weeks at 6000ft of elevation, were those assets from Nike really necessary? After all, his success came from challenging the status quo. Cam didn't win an NCAA championship by playing it safe and heeding to commonly accepted running wisdom. So what's to say that Cam can't do it again? Here's 3 reasons we think Cam will run faster than ever before.
1. Miles, Baby!
Cam's college career made it pretty clear that his body can handle the stress of mega-miles. He started as a freshman running a typical 60 miles per week but by his senior year he was pounding out 150 mile weeks like it was nothing. Not many can handle that type of stress, but that doesn't mean that those who can shouldn't take advantage of their durability. By getting back to his bread and butter, we think Cam will find his groove once again and start crushing competitors with his freakish strength.
2. Flying under the radar
The Nike Oregon Project has to be the most heavily scrutinized pro track team in the world. Every workout, bad race, questionable social media post, etc... gets dissected and questioned by the general running community. No matter who you are, that kind of pressure and attention can take it's toll - especially when you're not racking up Olympic medals like your teammates.
This is Cam's opportunity to fly under the radar, to avoid the media and get back to basics. Whether he decides to keep training in Portland or back in the mountains of Southern Utah, he's going to be free from the scrutiny that has followed him for the last few years with NOP.
Cam joined Southern Utah's team as a decent high school runner (but not even a 4:10 miler). In five years, he was transformed into a world-class distance runner. For a college coach to be able to turn a good HS runner into an Olympian warrants a ton of trust and respect from his athlete. At NOP, he joined as one of the hottest up and comers in the world of track and field, but he didn't do much to build on his legacy. He had a few really good races, but those were scattered amongst mid-pack finishes, health issues, and a lengthy injury.
Because of this, we believe Cam's trust and faith in Coach Houle is something that any coach would be hard-pressed to replicate - even if his name is Alberto Salazar. Cam was seemingly on fire every time he stepped on the track with Coach Houle, that feeling of invincibility is tough to forget. When times get tough it can be helpful to go back to the system that brought you the massive success in the first place.
Here's to hoping for some more big PRs for Cam, 2018 could be something special!