Brian Herron of Lakeside, Ga. broke out on the national scene as a ninth-grader last year when he broke national freshman class records in the 200m and 400m at the USATF Indoor Hoover Alumni Invitational. The emergence of Tyrese Cooper, also a current sophomore in the Class of 2019, has given Herron plenty of competition -- both head-to-head and in the national record books -- over the past calendar year. Herron currently owns the nation's fastest times in the 400m at 48.08 and the 200m at 21.22, the latter of which is a new national sophomore class record.
Jojo: What were your expectations for your debut performance? Were you expecting to run times like 21.22/48.08, or did your fitness surprise you? Why?
Brian: I was kind of nervous coming back on the scene and running the 400m because training during the past few months has been rough. We haven't been getting outside as much as we did last year. The 200m surprised me very much. I didn't expect my times to be that fast in the 200m after running 48.08.
Your 21.22 broke the national sophomore class record previously held by Noah Lyles at 21.5. How does it feel to be in the same conversation as Noah, who is a world junior champion, national record holder and pro athlete as a teenager? Do you look up to Noah and/or are there other track athletes who inspire you?
It feels great to be mentioned in the same sentence as Noah Lyles. It shows that I may be able to go further than he has gotten during his years running high school track. I admire Noah and what he's done and I'm inspired by athletes that consistently work on improving their times.
There is another great runner in your class, Tyrese Cooper. What is it like to have someone pushing your record times? Have you ever raced head to head? What was it like?
It's insane knowing there's someone even faster than I am that I'm probably going to race for the rest of high school. I raced him one time two years ago at the USATF Junior Olympics in 2015. It was nerve-racking because I had gotten sick the week before and I didn't think I was at my best but I did pretty well. [Cooper won the finals in 47.08 over Jandon Briscoe's 48.04; Herron took third in 48.06].
How is your training different as a sophomore than as a freshman?
My training consists of more weights. I started lifting weights this indoor season and I really think it's helped me in a strength aspect.
What's the hardest workout you've done so far this winter?
Three split 500's where you run a 300m with a 30-second break, then a 200m.
Can you describe a typical week of training?
Monday: Speed Work at Track
Wednesday: Weight Room
Thursday: Strength Training at Track
Saturday: Strength Training at Track and Weight Room
Sunday: Speed Work at Track
What are your #MileSplitGoals for 2017?
My goals are to run 20.75 in the 200m and 45.40 in the 400m this year. I also plan to make the World Youth team.
When/where is your next race? What events will you compete in?
January 15th at the Birmingham Crossplex. I will compete in the 60m and 4x200m.
What do you think you can improve on? What's your biggest weakness?
My biggest weakness is probably not pushing out the blocks, I'm always anxious about what position I'm in when I come out the blocks and I tend to not focus on it a lot.
What is your favorite event?
My favorite is mainly the 400m.
What kind of food do you usually eat? Do you keep a strict diet?
I can eat anything I want it's just that my family doesn't buy junk foods. We just eat fruits, vegetables and meats.
Watch Brian Herron's U.S. No. 1 400m in Birmingham, where he ran 48.08:
Favorite movie: Matrix Revolution
Favorite song right now: N/A
Website you spend the most time on: milesplit.com
Favorite athlete: Andre De Grasse
Inspirational quote: N/A
Favorite food (when you're not training vs. when you are training): I eat everything
Describe the perfect day in the life of Brian Herron: N/A