Danny Mackey is the founding coach of the Brooks Beasts Track Club. In the U.S. Champs, Brooks Beasts TC athletes Nia Atkins and Isaiah Harris made the women’s and men’s 800 meters, with Nia winning the 800m and Isaiah taking second. We sent Danny these questions, which he returned just after the US and Brit Champs.
Danny Mackey is a thoughtful coach who loves his athletes and club. Danny is a total track geek, and we are always grateful for his thoughtful answers.
Special thanks to Jazmine Graham and Brooks Communications.
RunBlogRun, # 1. I spoke with Isaiah Harris at the USATF LA Grand Prix, and his confidence was wonderful; tell us about where Isaiah is at just before the US champs?
Danny Mackey: We were confident in his fitness and his mental state, but the outdoor season thus far has been up and down. But we went into the championships and talked specifically about being on that podium. That has always been the goal.
RunBlogRun, # 2. What were you looking for as you fine-tune your athletes for the US champs?
Danny Mackey: Individual needs are paramount leading into the champs. So that might be more rest, 1-2 reps more at race pace for confidence; it totally depends on the athletes.
RunBlogRun, # 3. Most of your athletes are 800m-5000m, and you had a high altitude block (you spoke to us in March about that); what was your philosophy?
Danny Mackey: Based on the research, ~60% of the 800 is aerobic metabolism, and ~87% of the 5k is aerobic. So both need red blood cells. For these reasons, it is advantageous for both to go to altitude.
Coach Danny Mackey with Josh Kerr and Brooks Beasts TC teammates, photo by Paul Merca /@paulmerca70601
RunBlogRun, #4. All of the middle distances will be very close, from qualifying rounds to the final; how do you speak to your athletes to prepare them for the US champs?
Danny Mackey: We talk about the rounds on the 1st day of practice. And some weeks, I scale the frequency so they can get a feel of the rounds. We also aim to be “strong” and come back better and recover better than anyone else they have to race.
RunBlogRun, # 5. With the World Champs in 2023, Olympics in 2024, and World Champs in 2025, can athletes compete well in 3 straight championships?
Danny Mackey: I think about this a lot, actually. Don’t forget about the 2021 Olympics and 2022 World Championships; that is 5 in a row. Some big athletes looked worn down this year.
RunBlogRun, # 6. How did you feel about Josh Kerr’s race in Lausanne? He looked totally into it!
Danny Mackey: It was good. The bar is set high for him, but we still had around 60 days until the World Champs, so we were not fully ready yet for Lausanne; we have to be mindful of peaking.