The Little Things . . .

a Going the Distance newsletter

Mid August 2021 || issue #106
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Braz Camp 2021

The last onsite session for the 2021 edition of Braz Camp was Friday, August 13.

Coach Braz didn’t run out of conditioning drills. He had many more weeks of new drills waiting to be done. But it was time to send the athletes back to their school programs that begin very shortly. Those new drills will wait until next summer.

This summer’s programs were packed. We had runners from 19 different towns in the Cross-Country program, and athletes from 12 different towns in the All-Sports program. The age range of athletes this summer was 7 to 21. We had boiling hot weather and cool weather. We had heavy rain, misty rain, and lots of sun.

We had a visit from Heather MacLean, our 1500 meter Olympian. And Hayley Dowd trained for two weeks in the All-Sports program before resuming her professional soccer career in Sweden. And last, but perhaps not least, on the hottest day of the summer, Coach Tom Holleran arrived with mango slushies for everyone. Yes, it was a good summer.

Coming Up

For most Braz Camp athletes, the academic and sports year of 2021-2022 begins soon. Coach Braz and the GTD staff wish you the best, and we hope to see you in Braz Camp next summer.

This issue of The Little Things continues with Angela Berry’s interview. If you wondered what Braz Camp was all about, read Angela’s interview, where she draws on her 8 summers of dedicated conditioning work. One key to successful conditioning is to do it with purpose. Angela explains the purpose of each drill.

Future issues will include –
-- an interview with a Braz Camper who just completed 11 summers with us
-- an interview with a Braz Camper who just completed his first summer with us
-- an interview with an athlete who created a brand new Braz Camp program
-- and more interviews

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Angela Berry

[My name is Angela Berry, I am from Salem, MA. I went to Salem High School and I am currently going into my senior year this Fall at Salem State University. I always played three sports when I was in high school (soccer, indoor track/ basketball for one year, and lacrosse).This helped keep me busy and allowed me to meet new people while playing the games I love. I now play on the women’s soccer and lacrosse teams at Salem State.

During my high school lacrosse seasons over the years I received the coaches award, as well as most improved and Hall of Fame award and was named captain my senior year. For soccer I received coaches award, student athlete of the month award, as well as being named one of the all star players to compete in the Agganis All Star game. I was named captain my junior and senior years.

During my time at Salem State I have made Dean’s list every year, as well as being inducted in the Alpha Lambda Delta and Chi Alpha Sigma honor society.]

GTD: Angela, how many summers have you trained in Coach Braz’s program? What got you started doing it?
Angela: I have been attending Coach Braz’s program ever since my freshman year of high school. The senior captains of my high school varsity soccer team got me involved in the program. It was a great experience to be able to train during the summer with fellow teammates and prepare for the fall season. Going into high school as a freshman can be nerve-racking so doing this program was a great way for me to meet players on the team and bond before the season.

GTD: You play soccer. How does the program help you?
Angela: In the fall I play soccer and this program does a great job at getting me in the best shape for preseason. Specifically, the ladder drills help with being quick on my feet and help me practice good agility skills. Ladders help improve your speed and quickness which will translate over to when you're playing your sport on the field. In soccer, agility and speed are key factors throughout all 90 minutes and this drill helps me to be quicker on my feet and increases my stretch in my joints and ligaments as well.

Another part of this program that helps prepare me for my preseason is our elaborate warm-up. Warming up before a workout is extremely important for your body so you don’t hurt yourself. By the end of most of our warm-ups I am already sweating because we will do a series of dynamics and lateral exercises to prepare our bodies for the rest of the workout phases ahead. A good warmup and cool down should be at least 20 minutes long.

After pushing so hard you have to take care of your body afterwards and get a good stretch in so you don’t risk injury. I make sure to always stay a little longer after every session to ensure I get a good stretch in.


GTD: How do you keep your focus during the drills?
Angela: During drills I stay focused by constantly reminding myself of my goal at the end of all this. You only get out what you put in, and if I want to be in the best shape for my sport in the fall I know I need to push myself even harder while training over the summer. We do several drills at Braz camp but unless you give it your all at each one you won’t get anything out of them by just going through the motions.

I sign up for this camp every year with a purpose; to ensure that I will do my part and challenge myself with my fitness level. When it starts to hurt and I feel like giving up, that is how I know I am pushing myself to the fullest and I just power through.

Something else I also remind myself of is that every workout comes to an end. So I just go as hard as I can and keep telling myself “do one more”, and when I feel like quitting I just say “one more” before I know it the drill is over. You always have “one more” in you if you just push through, it becomes more of a mental game than anything else.


GTD: Are there any drills you love?
Angela: Specific drills we do at Braz camp that I love include sprinting 50 yards on the track and walking 10 in between. I feel as though I am able to push and give as much as I can in a short amount of time and then it’s over the sooner I finish and then I get a quick built-in rest. The quick reps of sprints and walking in between correlate over to soccer. I am a center mid ,which involves a lot of running. Practicing sprints here helps me on the field in the long run when it comes down to the wire and I just need to push a little more to get back or get up the field to get open.

I also love when we do discipline drills on the line such as one foot forward and back or side to side and then sprint out. I may not love it in the moment but I know this is an important drill that will only make me better. This again specifically helps me in my sport because soccer requires quickness on your feet and always staying on your toes. In doing this drill I am able to do quick movements and then the final sprint out I imagine that I have to sprint down the field for a breakaway and I keep that same mentality every time.


GTD: How do you handle nutrition on Brazcamp mornings?. It’s the heat of summer, you’re starting at 9am and you have 90 intense minutes of work.
Angela: Eating the right thing before Braz camp is very important, as well as staying hydrated. You don’t want to have anything too heavy but you also need to have enough to fuel you for 90 minutes so you don’t get light headed or feel faint. It can be tricky to find that perfect balance that works for you. I will be sure to drink lots of water before camp or I will have a sports drink to supply me with the energy I need for my workout. As for what I eat, I will usually do a couple of different options every morning such as have a banana, toast with peanut butter, or a cliff bar. I make sure to drink lots of water during and after camp as well so I stay hydrated throughout the day because the heat gets very intense.

GTD: Long range plans after college?
Angela: I will be graduating from Salem State in the Spring of ’22. However, I am currently in the process of applying for the 4 + 1 program for criminal justice. If I am accepted it is a combined bachelor’s/master’s program, so I can complete my master’s degree in 1 year rather than 2.

I am still unsure of what I want to do with my degree but I have a few interests such as forensics, public record analysis, or being involved with the courts. I also plan on taking an internship in the spring, which will give more clarity with what I wish to do, and the experience will be extremely beneficial as well. The criminal justice field has a lot of different opportunities and avenues I can explore and I am excited to find my perfect fit. As for soccer, when I leave Salem State I would be very open to playing in a women’s league, I don’t think I can ever truly say goodbye to the game.

[With her hair bun and headband, Angela is easy to see on the field. And then you see that she executes every drill as if she’s a coach doing a demo. She never skips even one repeat and – as she says – never just goes through the motions. She trains at Braz Camp to get ready for her sports seasons, and she’s been doing it for 8 years. At 10:30, when camp finishes, she’s still on the field, stretching. If there’s a Poster Athlete for the All-Sports Program, it’s Angela Berry.]

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Poetry in Motion

Or caught in mid-cut around a cone, mid-air over a low hurdle (or soccer ball), or gliding into an acceleration.

These moments on the field at Braz Camp are what you will re-play in a soccer game, a cross-country race. Or in front of a full-length mirror as you say “After THAT program, I’m in great shape. I’m ready to compete.” Your mind and muscles should be ready.

As coaches, we watch and guide you on the field. We also look at the captured moments, the photos. What was working, what can we do better.

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Look carefully. Those are (dreaded) mountain-climbers, followed by a quick sprint, and then back for more.

Each summer’s photos appear on the GTD website in the fall or winter. Previous years are available.
Cross-Country -- xc photos
All-Sports – all-sports photos

Techie note. Cellphone cameras are great for snapshots. They are not designed to capture athletes in motion. For a camera body, I use a Canon EOS 7D SLR and the following lenses (all Canon) at camp.
Prime – 50mm f/1.4, 85mm f1.8, 100mm f/2.8 L Macro
Zoom – 16-35mm f/2.8 L, 24-70mm f/2.8 L, 70-200 f/4.0 L
When we’re lucky enough to have a rainy morning, I use a palm-size Canon Power Shot SD700IS.


Personal Coaching

Coach Braz provides personal coaching for runners at all levels who want to improve their performance or want a guided maintenance program.

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.

Program details
Sign-up Steps


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
Webmaster and Director -- Dave Smith
For more information, contact Dave at dave@goingthedistancefb.com

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