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Running after College: Tulane's Emma Newton talks transitions


Q. As a Tulane alum and girls cross country coach, I did follow your college career, at least in cross country.  I know you were leading the team from your freshman year forward.  What was it like to come onto a NCAA team and immediately step into that position?

A. It was definitely pretty daunting! I was really used to being in the front in high school, but I assumed that was because I was from a tiny town in NH - I was definitely not expecting to be in that position on a D1 team. However, once the season started I fell into a groove, and I really just focused on my training and continuing to improve. It was also helpful to have a really supportive team of women; I definitely coulnd't have done it without them.

Q. After doing a little research I also discovered you were leading your team throughout high school as well.  That’s lot of years at the front!  What was your best race in your high school career?

A. My best race in my high school career was definitely when I won the NH state race in 2010. I'd been having a hard time pushing at the end of cross country races that season, but I was able to save some gas for the end and pass three runners in the final 400 meters. Not only was I able to win, but it was a personal victory in terms of mental endurance.

 Q. What was your favorite season, cross country, indoor or outdoor?  Favorite events on the track?  What do you consider your finest moment in college athletics?

 A. I genuinely really loved all seasons, but cross country will always have a special place in my heart. I grew up running mainly in the woods, and I loved how I could race through them in XC.

My favorite event on the track was definitely the 3000/3200. For me that was the perfect balance between distances.

I'd have to say my finest moment in college athletics was placing in outdoor conference in the mile. Usually, the mile is a little fast for me, and I was really proud that I was able to reach down and sprint at the end. 

 Q. What was your weekly training load in high school?  How did that change when you reached the college level?

A. I probably ran about 30-35 miles (?) per week in high school. Throughout college we played around with my training a lot, but I think I did best when my mileage was between 55-65/week. 

 Q. How did you handle set backs or injuries?

 A. I was unfortunately injured quite a lot in college (several stress fracture, plantar fasciitis, etc), but I was always able to come back from them. We had wonderful athletic trainers who always helped me throughout the process, and I did a lot of PT. The alter-g was also really helpful during periods of recovery.

 Q. I know you’re finishing up medical school this May — have you kept up with your running post-collegiately? Was it an adjustment coming off of year-round training and moving into a demanding academic program that probably didn’t allow you to continue with your normal activity level?

A. To help myself adjust, I took the first few months of med school almost completely off - I ran maybe 5-10 miles/week. However, once I settled into the swing of the rigorous academic schedule, I realized that running was one of the only things that could really keep me sane while studying all day every day. In probably November of my first year I started running every day again, probably ~45-50/week. In terms of the adjustment period it was definitely really difficult to go from training every day (sometimes 2-3 times!) to not at all, and I had a really tough time those first few months when I wasn't running. However, I think that DI athletics prepared me for a difficult academic schedule in a unique way. I was already used to being very regimented: I had to show up to practice early, had to squeeze studying into competition weekends, etc, so the adjustment to the rigor of med school was easier for me than I think it would've been otherwise.

Q. Are you running now?  Training for anything specifically?

A. I am running now! I am racing the Louisiana half marathon next weekend. I like to have a race planned at least 2x/year so I have something to look forward to.  ** Update ** Emma was the second female finisher at the 2023 Louisiana Half Marathon.

Q. When was the last time you raced, and how did it go?

A. I ran the Chicago marathon (my first marathon ever!) back in October, and it was SO fun! My goal was to break 3 hours, and I ran it in 2:57. I was really proud of myself for sticking to a pace, not going out too quickly and still having gas in the tank at the end of the longest distance I've ever run.

Q. Do you have any big goals for the future running-wise?

A. I'd love to run the Boston marathon. I qualified with my Chicago time, but I can't run it until 2024 when I'm in residency. Depending on where I end up in the country next year, I'm hoping I'll be able to swing it. I'd also love to improve on my marathon time; I'd really like to get down to 6:30 pace. 

 Thank you, Emma!  We look forward to hearing more about your goals!

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