Two weeks ago at the UW Invitational, redshirt freshman Talon Hull did not know what to expect in his first collegiate mile. On the last turn, Hull took a quick peek at the time and dashed toward the finish line. After he crossed the finish line, 3:59.55 was next to his name, and his teammates mobbed him knowing that he finished with a sub-four-minute mark in his first race. Hull thinks learning to embrace being uncomfortable combined with his cross-country training allowed him to run below a four-minute mile.
“I’ve just been putting in a lot of volume since the beginning of cross and as a mile, you need a good combination of strength and speed,” Hull said. “Going into the indoor season, I didn’t have a lot of speed but I had a good base and strength under me and that helped me a lot. Strength helps you maintain a hard pace, and having a good combination of speed just helps you get into that faster pace.”
Before the Jan. 26 UW Invitational, Hull was solely a cross-country runner. As a freshman, he was fourth on the team at the Pac-12 Championships with a time of 24:28. Later that season, the Huskies reach the NCAA Championships and finished 144th overall at the NCAAs with a time of 31:05. In his sophomore campaign, he helped lead the Huskies to second place at the Pac-12s and sixth place at the NCAA Championships.
For a cross-country runner that was running his first mile representing Washington, Hull credited junior Connor Morello for setting the pace and the team comradery that allowed him to be comfortable in an unfamiliar setting.
“We’re a really close group of guys and we just want the best for each other,” Hull said. “Connor helped set the pace, and he was a key factor for me breaking four[minutes]. The race would’ve gone on differently without him.”
As a true freshman, Hull would help out by timing track athletes and using splits to measure their pace for each lap. Understanding the atmosphere in the Dempsey and how track events operated helped Hull prepare for his first event.
“I didn’t gain any physical experience, but from watching everyone and being aware of the races in the Dempsey and knowing how things operate has really helped me.”
Hull will be running the 3,000-meter run and the distance-medley relay for the rest of the season. He thinks learning to be uncomfortable from the mile will help him with the 3k and DMR.
“I have pretty high expectations on the 3k.” Hull said. “It gives me a lot of confidence for that event. I’ll be running the DMR as a relay. I think I’ve gained a lot of confidence from that race and some experience.”
Reach reporter Daniel Li at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @Daniel_Li7