The Little Things . . . a Going the Distance newsletter Late April 2017 || issue #53 Share on Facebook Coach of the Year -- Fernando Braz Marissa


The Little Things . . .

a Going the Distance newsletter

Late April 2017 || issue #53
Share on Facebook

IMG 8047

Coach of the Year

The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) has named Fernando Braz the 2017 MIAA Boys Indoor Track Coach of the Year. The award notes Coach Braz’s “excellence of character, impact upon students and community, and coaching credentials.”

The Salem News newspaper named Fernando the Boys Indoor Coach of the Year for 2016-17 The News writes the following:

“Year after year, Fernando Braz manages to produce outstanding teams for Peabody High. The Tanner boys were a perfect 7-0 this winter, winning both the Northeastern Conference Large and league meet championship. Joe Farhat was named conference MVP and eight of his teammates earned All-Conference honors.

“Braz has an astonishing 69-1 record over the past nine years since Peabody joined the Northeastern Conference. Overall in his 18 seasons as head coach, the Tanners are an incredible 145-5-1.”

In the Lawrence-based Eagle-Tribune newspaper, under the heading “Brilliant Braz” the following story appears: “Fernando Braz was a brilliant coach in his brief tenure at Lawrence High School. The former BC All-American returned to his alma mater, Peabody High, and has an eye-popping 145-5-1 record in 18 years as the Tanners ‘ boys indoor track coach.”

For more about Coach Braz, follow this link.

To be coached by Coach Braz, register for one of the GTD coaching programs described below.

IMG 2090

Marissa Farago

[An athlete is a person who looks at the rain falling and says, “good day for a run (or game).” An athlete is a person who sees an injury or illness as a temporary distraction. Only. Marissa is a senior at Triton High School. She has an athlete’s soul.]

GTD: Marissa, how many summers have you trained in Coach Braz’s program? What got you started doing it?
Marissa: I have trained at Coach Braz’s camp for two years now. I had seen a flyer for the camp at one of my cross country meets my sophomore year of running (my first year). I did some extended research to gain an understanding as to what the program offered and entailed - and then decided to sign up!


GTD: During the 90 to 120 minutes of each onsite session, were there parts you looked forward to doing?
Marissa: . My favorite part of the camp is definitely the different running combinations that are done on the field with everyone as a group. I enjoy the challenge that it gives me - both psychologically and athletically when I am pushed by other runners.

GTD: The last phase of each training session was devoted to core work, flexibility, and strength. Tell us about it. What did you like and didn’t like?
Marissa: . In the last part of each session, we usually will do a lot of hurdle mobility, core strengthening, plyometrics, and medicine ball work. I really enjoy this part of each practice because it gives runners a chance to focus on certain things that many may tend to exclude in their regular season workouts.


My personal favorite is hurdle mobility because it's a great way to not only get a good stretch, but it has also helped to strengthen my hip flexors. Before I came to Coach Braz’s camp, I had many hip issues while running but once I was introduced to hurdles, I started to use them more regularly during the season and was successful in making the pain go away. Furthermore, during this part of the session, I tended to struggle mostly with plyometrics. This was, unquestionably, my least favorite. But despite my feelings, I have continued to work toward getting stronger in this area as it had been very difficult for me when it was first introduced as a part of the exercise regime at camp.

GTD: When you’re doing the “running” parts of the program, do you ever “visualize” a xc race?
Marissa: During many of the workouts, usually tempo and hill workouts, I have visualized myself in a cross country race at Coach Braz’s camp. I think the workouts that are provided at this camp make it very easy to have this mindset because they are very geared towards the physical and psychological struggles that a runner faces during a race.

GTD: When you race, do you have routines that you always do to prepare, leading right up to the start?
Marissa: On the day of my race, I usually wear my “lucky” shirt and socks. I also listen to a playlist that I have on my phone to get myself pumped up and will take some time to stretch out to give myself the time to focus and what it is that I want to personally achieve from my race.

IMG 2189

GTD: Sometimes when it’s over, runners think about those moments in a race where they lost focus (and time). Did you have any of those “lost moments” in Braz camp? Perhaps when you may have just gone through the motions during a core session, other times?
Marissa: There have been times when I have lost focus during the camp, mostly during my first year, but I think that as I improved through the support of Coach Braz and the other coaches at the camp. I became a stronger runner, psychologically. I had struggled very much with this aspect of running before I enrolled in the summer camp but throughout the many weeks of the camp, I became more confident in myself as a runner and was able to make a significant amount of improvement throughout the cross country season.

GTD: How do you handle nutrition during your racing seasons. What about race day? With xc camp starting at 8am in the heat of summer, what did you do for food/drink BEFORE 8am?
Marissa: During the season I tend to avoid sugary foods and most pre-packaged items. I think that nutrition is the key to running and when I eat healthier, I feel better about myself and as a result, I have better performances. Before practices in the morning, I would usually eat either a granola bar or a small bowl of cereal and try to drink at least sixteen ounces of water to fuel and hydrate myself for the workout.

GTD: Tell us about your fall xc season.
Marissa: This past fall season I experienced quite a bit of hardship and missed the majority of the season. I was diagnosed with mononucleosis and a heart defect that impacted my ability to run. Despite the setback from the very start of the season due to recovery time and subsequent diagnostic procedures completed under a cardiologist’s care, I was determined to run again when medically cleared to do so.

This happened toward the end of the regular season with the reality being that I would very well not achieve what I had set out to accomplish from the beginning of the fall season. Although I wasn’t as physically fit as I had been coming into the season, I still managed to accomplish my goals by placing seventh at the league meet, placing ninth at states and qualifying as an individual for the All-State Championship.

It was definitely a stressful season, but I was glad to be able to come back at the end for some of the larger meets and finish off my high school cross country career on a high note.

GTD: Tell us what you’re doing for running this spring.
Marissa: For the spring, I am planning to focus on both the mile and the two mile races. Since this is my last season of running at a high school level, I would really love to achieve “personal bests” in these two events.

GTD: College plans?
Marissa: Next year, I will be attending Franklin Pierce University pursuing a degree in Physical Therapy while running at a collegiate level. I will be competing as a three season athlete on the cross country, indoor and outdoor track teams. I am very excited and thankful to have this experience. Being able to run on a college team has always been my dream and to make this become a reality is really awesome!

IMG 0464-001

XC - Summer Conditioning

Registration is open for GTD's 2 cross-country conditioning programs.

North Shore registration
North Shore details

Merrimack Valley registration
Merrimack Valley details
New location for Merrimack xc program -- in Andover at the spacious back fields of the Greater Lawrence Technical School and beautiful trails along the Merrimack River.

Onsite sessions for both programs begin on Monday, July 10 and continue on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings until Friday, August 18.

The Comprehensive program ($195) includes two weeks of off-site prep conditioning, plus a written guideline for all 56 days of the program. The Onsite-only program ($170) includes the 18 onsite sessions.

IMG 3216

All-Sports - Speed & Conditioning

Registration is open for GTD's 2 all-sports speed & conditioning programs.

North Shore registration
North Shore details

Merrimack Valley registration
Merrimack Valley details

The programs provide conditioning for athletes who participate in soccer, field hockey, lacrosse, basketball football, baseball, ice hockey, softball, track, wrestling, volleyball, dance, skiing, and cheering.

The North Shore program in Peabody begins on Monday, July 10 and continues on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings until August 11.

The Merrimack Valley program in Andover begins on Monday, June 12 and continues on Monday evenings until August 14.


Personal Coaching with Coach Braz

Registration for the Spring Seasonal Coaching Program (program 1) with Fernando Braz is now available. The program began on April 17 and continues for 15 weeks to the end of July.

Registration Form

The program is designed for runners who have a specific racing goal, or a series of races to prepare for, or want to build or maintain their running fitness. Runners receive a written, 15-week outline that is targeted to their level and goal. The outline includes a weekly track session that may be done at a site convenient to the runner, or with Coach Braz on Tuesday evenings at the Beverly High School track.

Runners may register at any time for Coach Braz's one-on-one coaching program (program 2).

What's the difference between Seasonal Coaching (program 1) and One-on-One Coaching (program 2)?
Program 1 provides a training outline for the spring, fall, or winter season.
Program 2 provides one-on-one coaching from Coach Braz on a daily and weekly basis.
For more information, go to Program Options and FAQs.


Previous Issues of The Little Things

Please go to this link for previous issues of The Little Things.


Going the Distance is a coaching service for runners at all levels.
If you know someone who might benefit from the Going the Distance program,
tell them about us, and forward The Little Things to them.
Visit our website -- Going the Distance
Head Coach -- Fernando Braz
Assistant Coach -- Annie Starrett
Webmaster and Director -- Dave Smith
For more information, contact Dave at