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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Cassie Fien - Remarkable interview on RT

Cassie Fien - Remarkable interview on RT

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1 Cassie Fien - Remarkable interview on RT on Sat Sep 04, 2010 8:41 am


I didn't know anything about Cassie Fien until I read this remarkable interview on Runners Tribe. Amazing woman - lives in Sale, works for the RAAF, has no coach, no training structure, the majority of her traning is on a treadmill, and prefers to compete in a skirt. She doesn't even plan her training session until the day due to her job!

Cassie Fien: A Distance Runner Doing It Her Own Way

By Cindy King
September 2, 2010,

24-year old Cassie Fien is an up-and-coming Australian distance runner who is having an outstanding year. In July of 2009 she was second at the Gold Coast Half Marathon in a time of 72.24, earning her a spot on as a debut Australian representative at the World Half Marathon Championships in Birmingham in October. She finished 31st in 72:55, and set herself up for a string of wins and personal bests in 2010. She won the Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon in May in a personal best time of 71.59, and later lowered this pb to 71.45 in finishing second to Lisa-Jane Weightman at the Gold Coast Half Marathon in July. She also set a 10km pb of 32:27 at Sandown in June. We caught up with her on the eve of the City to Surf, where she finished second.

RT: Thanks for speaking with us. What are your training goals?

CF: Well...just training up for the World Half Marathon on the 15th of October in Nanning, China....I am really excited.

RT: Are you still self-coached?

Yes, I am.

RT: Why is that?

CF: I don’t want to be coached by correspondence because anything that a coach gives me on paper, because of the study that I have behind me, I generally know what to do because I have a diploma of fitness and a diploma of sports development. I don’t need a piece of paper: I need someone there to be with me through those hard times. And I am in Sale; there is no way that I can have coaching. I just have not found someone whom I have clicked with, and I am not really in the area that I can find someone, unfortunately. I am being posted to Richmond, near Sydney, next year, so things might change then.

RT: Do you have any mentors or training partners?

CF: I don’t have any training partners. I definitely have mentors; I don’t speak with them regularly, but I definitely have had people throughout my running career give advice on different things, but not on a constant basis.

RT: Is it true that you do most of your training on the treadmill?

CF: It has become a creature comfort for me now.... I never used to run on a treadmill but when I was posted to Sale it was too cold, dark and scary to run outside so I started running on the treadmill and never got off. I also find that because I do not have anyone to run with I push myself harder on a treadmill because if you do not run to the speed it is going you fall off.

I like to run outdoors but would choose a treadmill these days. I do not know how running outdoors compares; it would be really interesting to see if I stopped using a treadmill what would happen?

RT: I read your Runners Tribe Journal about your World Half Marathon Championships last year ( and you mentioned about not knowing about how to warm up for a world championships race – have you learned more since then? Has Athletics Australia helped you with those specifics?

CF: Not really; I am still pretty much flying ‘by the seat of my pants’. Even today at the City to Surf press conference I had to ask Steve Moneghetti how long the race was because I did not even know! I don’t like to get too technical and serious about things and just let things come.

RT: I know that Commonwealth Games Marathon Representative Lisa Flint is also in the armed forces. Do you speak with her much?

CF: We’re not not friends, but we haven’t struck up a friendship per se. If we see each other at a race we will say hello or ‘good race’, but we don’t really talk outside of that.

RT: Your job is a full-time physical training instructor for the RAAF. How does this fit in with your training?

CF: It is basically a matter of figuring out what classes I have on during the day and planning my training around that. Sometimes I have to take classes at 6 o’clock in the morning, so I have to get up that little bit earlier to fit my training in, and then take students for their training, so it is definitely a balancing act. I figure out what I am going to do on a day-to-day basis; I don’t have a training program or anything like that, so I just pretty much wake up and figure out what I am going to do during the day and try to fit my training around that.

RT: I know that your training varies, but do you have a typical training week?

CF: No; I honestly don’t. It is so completely random. I don’t do Sunday long runs or anything like that. It all has to do with what I have to take the students for in their training so it is completely all over the place. Some weeks I will have really big weeks, and some weeks I can’t fit a lot in, so it has to be a small week.

RT: Do you follow any special diet or eating plans?

CF: No, but I used to be pretty bad in the sense that I thought carbohydrates were bad and all this stuff but since I have just started a diploma of fitness I have just found out how important nutrition is and how important it is for recovery and how you need your proteins and your proper fats and your carbohydrates, minerals and everything. I really concentrate on eating fresh and healthy and recovering properly.

RT: How physically hard do you have to work in those classes? How physically taxing is it on you?

CF: If we take forth marches, then I will be along in the front and doing all the forth marches with them. On a general basis, I am normally just instructing but I have to be very motivating so I can’t be tired and lethargic, because that is going to rub off on the students.

RT: Have the forces been supportive of your running?

CF: Definitely; they are very supportive. I have put in an application to be recognised as an elite sportsperson so that would entitle to me for some extra leave when I need it for overseas competitions and things like that, so they are very supportive in helping me in every way with my running , or never stopped me, so that has been great.

RT: I notice from photos that you sometimes race in a skirt. Tell me about running in a skirt!

CF: I absolutely love them. At first I was a bit ‘I don’t know about this’, but now I cannot run in shorts and I hate running in shorts. The fabric and the cut and the garments underneath and I absolutely love running in my skirts. The only reason why I did not wear one during the Sydney Morning Herald Half this year is because I was running as part of the Defence Athletics Club, and I don’t think their uniform protocol would have incorporated the skirt, so I just wore normal pants, but I just really, really like the skirt. It makes you feel a bit more feminine; as runners when you get your hair up you can be misplaced as a boy sometimes...I just absolutely love the skirts, I really do. Definitely do Skirt Sports and not any other inferior brands, because they are the best.

RT: You are now a New Balance sponsored runner. Does New Balance do skirts?

Well I am not sure yet, so I am playing it safe in The City to Surf and wearing full New Balance gear.

RT: Do you have a favourite pair of New Balance shoes?

CF: Yes, I am wearing them right now – the 760s.

Why did you start running?

CF: I wanted to get a medal. I was at school and I was always mediocre at all sports. I could do all sports, but I wasn’t any good at any of them. In cross country I would come fifth or something, and then I started to do some cross country training at my school and I won my school cross country and I won the next level and the next level and the next, and it got a hold. My parents were not pushy parents and I had to prove myself to them before they would take me to athletics events because they thought it was a fad. When they saw that I had talent they supported me and it went from there.

I have read that your father was killed while cycling when you were only 12 years old, and that still motivates you?

CF: Oh, definitely. It is something that keeps me still attached to him and what we had and so it is very important to me in a sense to always keep running no matter what level it is at. It is one of those things that we had together and I always want to keep it close to me.


Heard on the grapevine, Fien is running ni the City to Bay next Sunday.

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