Training Blog: Payton Godsey

Oaks Christian senior (CA) Payton Godsey won her first CIF State Division 4 Cross Country Championship title last season. She set a new 5K personal best of 17:00.06 on the Woodward Park course. The following week, she claimed a national title at the Garmin RunningLane Cross Country Championships with a performance of 17:28.

As the calendar turned to 2023, she finished second in the 3,200m at the CIF State Outdoor Championships. Godsey posted career bests of 2:11.90 in the 800m, 4:44.13 in the mile, and 9:57.77 in the 3,200m, all ranked among the top performances in the country. She later committed to Northern Arizona University. 

Week 1 - Week 2 - Week 3 - Week 4

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Week 1 (July 31 - August 5)

Sunday, July 30 - 9 miles

Today was the second day of my team's running camp in Mammoth Lakes, California.

Yesterday was an easy acclimation run and today we did 3x2 mile repeats at Lake Mary. Lake Mary's elevation is 9,000 feet high, so we focused on effort rather than time. I ran with a couple of the younger boys on the team and I felt really good even though it was super hard. 

After the run, we stood in the lake for 15 minutes for an ice bath and then we went back to the house for breakfast and a team meeting. For a couple of hours, we hung around the condos playing volleyball and spike ball (my teammate Grace and I were beating everyone). We also played some cards and ate lunch. I will admit I was getting destroyed in cards, but I'll come back better next time, don't worry

In the afternoon, we did an easy three mile double run around Convict Lake. We had to cross a huge river and got soaked. The total mileage on the day was a little higher than usual for me, but we will adjust later on in the week if I need to. 

Monday, July 31 - 7 miles

This morning we had an easy recovery run. We drove to a location we call Little Smokey, which is a 5.8 mile loop with hills and sand and amazing views of the mountains. I ran seven miles with my teammates, Grace and Ethan. 

After the run, we had breakfast and a team meeting before the rest of the day began. We went to the store, played cards and then played volleyball. In the afternoon, we drove to a park for beach volleyball and spike ball. I was running around and playing sports for about three hours, so I might be a little extra tired tomorrow, but that's what makes our Mammoth trip extra special. 

Tuesday, August 1 - 11.6 miles

Today was Top Gun day! This is what we call our long run route in Mammoth.

I'm not quite sure the story behind the name, but it is essentially an 11.6-mile point-to-point route through the forest. You go through lots of hills, sandy surfaces, rocks and even cross a river. There is a time goal for the boys and girls to hit and if you make it the full distance under the time limit, then our coach gives us the famous "Top Gun Story." The boy's time is 85 minutes and the girls' time is 100 minutes. This year I hit my goal of sub-80 and averaged a 6:42 pace. There is a very select group that knows the story and everyone wants to be part of the club. As much as I wish I could share the story, the No. 1 rule of 'Top Gun' is to not talk about 'Top Gun.' 

After the run, we had pancakes, bacon and some fruit for breakfast. Then we had a devotion and some free time. That afternoon, we went to the park again and played volleyball and I watched some of my friends from another school race in the Mammoth Track Club's 5K fun run. 

Wednesday, August 2 - 4 miles

Last night my legs had started to feel not so great, so I made sure to roll extra and stretch before bed. When I woke up I wasn't feeling any better, so I decided to be smart and take an easy day. I took it one mile at a time, and by mile four I decided to be done and be conservative. With it only being August, I just wanted to really listen to what my body was telling me and that happened to be a lot less than I would usually go. 

As frustrating as it can be at the moment, I know that the aches and pains I am feeling now are so normal and insignificant in the long run. 

Of course, whenever some sort of pain holds me back from the full workout or mileage, I do get a little upset -- but I know it is part of the sport. Luckily, being in Mammoth really helps because for the rest of the day I could take my mind off of it by spending time with my team. We played Dutch Blitz (I got destroyed) and walked to a river for an ice bath. 

Days like this always give me important reminders that balance is very important. 

Thursday, August 3 - 4 miles

Today I had another easy day. Because my legs didn't feel good yesterday, I decided to be extra cautious and take another low mileage day. Being extra careful now will prevent a lingering problem in the future. On the run, I went four miles and felt really good! 

After the run we had breakfast, then we walked to the river and did another ice bath. After this, I went to the hot tub and enjoyed my free time. 

Friday, August 4 - warm-up + 2.60 miles 

Because I was feeling a lot better, I decided to run our Mammoth Rock Time Trial today! We warmed with a couple of miles from our condos to the start, then we warmed up and got ready to go. The route is 2.6 miles up on a single-track trail. There are a lot of rocks and sand and steep ups and downs. It feels like death from 100 meters in. 

I went out a little hard because the boys in front of me did, but I was able to hold on in the middle mile thanks to some downhill efforts which saved me. The last 0.6 was the hardest part and it felt pretty bad, but I made it! I am feeling very grateful that I was able to finish our trip with a good time trial, considering I had a couple of iffy days. 

After this, we drove to June Lake and spent the day on the beach there. Overall it was a great day. 

Saturday, August 5 - Easy Run

Today was our last day of running camp. We ran an easy route from our condos and most of it was downhill. With the exception of a few bugs in my mouth and eyes, the run went really well. After our easy run, we packed up and drove 5 hours back home to Westlake. It was such a good week with the team and I can't believe it was my last training camp as a high schooler. 

I love my teammates like siblings and I am very excited to spend one last year with all of them. 

Sunday, August 6 - Day Off

Today was the first day back from training camp. I usually run an easy shakeout on Sundays, but today I decided to take the day off and not run at all. I was feeling a little tired post-trip, so I slept in and just hung out with my family today. 

I figured it was a good day to rest since the next few weeks will be busy with school starting up. 

Total Mileage: 38.2 Miles

This is the first of several training blogs written by various athletes as the 2023 cross country season begins to ramp up. Check out our training blog series page for more content.