Q&A Interview: Caden Hercules

Name: Caden Hercules

School: Desert Mountain

Grade: Senior
Caden Hercules moved from Issaquah, Washington to Scottsdale, Arizona just before his sophomore year of high school. He's developed quickly throughout high school from a 4:50.94 miler in WA to running 4:26.03 this past spring. He holds a PR of 15:53 for 5k from last fall and finished 6th at the AIA Cross-Country State Meet. In May of this year, Caden finished 4th in the D1 boys 1600 meters at the Track and Field State Championships. The following week, he raced the #Breaking9 3200 meters at the Meet of Champions with several of the best runners in the State and ran a PR of 9:19.21 for 3rd place.
Where are you from and how did you begin competitive running?
I was born in Livonia, Michigan but moved to Issaquah, Washington at a young age. In 5th grade I competed for the Issaquah Gliders Track Club because I had "too much energy". In 6th grade I ran for Speed Unlimited. I never really liked to run back then though. I used to love basketball and wrestling (at 60 lbs). Freshman year was when I actually committed, thanks to Issaquah XC.
What does a typical training week look like for you?
Monday's and Wednesday's are recovery days (usually 6-7 miles).
Tuesday's are either a fartlek (1 minute hard, 2 minutes recovery) or a tempo of 2x2 miles as well as a swim or bike shakeout.
Thursday's are hill work. I either do 6x800m or alternating between 400m and 600m reps as well as a gym workout later in the day.
Friday's are pre-race days (4-4.5 miles).
Saturday's are races with a shakeout run at night of 3-5 miles.
What is something that helps you mentally prepare for a race?
The night before a race you know I gotta tackle the pasta. I also eat a bowl of brown rice because that stuff's tight. Then I kick back, ice bathe, watch a little Family Guy and go to bed half an hour later than I planned. The morning of, I have Kix cereal and a PB and J. Other than eating, I study the competition and set out a couple goals for the race.
Do you have a favorite pre-race ritual? (Music you like to play beforehand or something you like to read? etc.)
Before my races I usually listen to music to get my adrenaline going. I also slap my legs 36 times on the start line (no more, no less).
Do/Did you have any role models on the team or from years past?
The number one role model I have in this sport is Jonathan Palmer. Not only is he the reason I still love this sport, but he encouraged me physically and verbally to keep working hard. Without him, I would not be where I am today. I am also thankful for Kennan Schrag, Jacob Brueckman, and Cayla Seligman, for welcoming me to the Issaquah XC team and helping me realize my love for this sport.
(Caden finishes 4th in the 1600m at the Track and Field State Championships.-photo by Harold Smith)
What's one piece of advice they gave you?
"Sunday is the day of rest" and "Let's go!" Jonathan is a man of very brief sentences.
Do you have a favorite pro-runner/athlete?
I like Mo Farah, but I also look up to some collegiate athletes such as Ben Veatch, Tyler Day, and Soren Knudsen for their cross-training habits that I have now taken up.
What's your favorite subject in school and why?
My favorite subject in school is marketing. Aside from trying to sell things, marketing involves impressing people by being bold and convincing, which I love to practice.
Will you continue competitive running after high school?
Yes, I will most likely be running in college, but not quite sure where.
What's something unique about you outside of running?
I can put my leg behind my head. If I force it enough, I can do both.