Oyster River's Patrick O'Brien talks indoor qualifiers, tough training and weird runs

When it came to prep distance running in New Hampshire this fall, Patrick O'Brien firmly established himself as one of the best runners in the state. The Durham Oyster River senior and Dartmouth signee had a stellar final season, logging a career best and winning time of 15:03 at the New Hampshire Meet of Champions, a runner-up bid at the New England Championships, a top-five finish at the Foot Locker Northeast Region and a Foot Locker National appearance in San Diego. Now, after a short break, O'Brien is back to the grind in the indoor season, where he's looking to repeat as a two-time champion in the 1500m and 3000m runs. So far, O'Brien, who also won a 1600m title last outdoor season, is right on pace, posting a US #3 time of 8:43.02 in the 3000m and a US #11 time of 4:05.74 in the 1500m. New Hampshire Milesplit caught up with the senior to see what his plans are for the end of the indoor season.

Tired at all? 

No not really, I'm working hard but still ready to do a lot more this year!

Good, because you're only 1/3 done with your senior year! I guess we should start with cross country, where you probably checked some things off the bucket list. Did you make good with most of your plans in XC? 

Yes for sure, I had a rough last race but accomplished and exceeded every goal I set out for at the beginning of summer. My PR of 15:03 is faster than I thought I would go, and second at New Englands was amazing, and then to run probably my best race at regionals to make nationals was just the cherry on top.

What was the most trying or difficult part of XC for you? Which race took the most out of you and taught the most about yourself? 

Nationals was definitely a humbling experience for me. I hadn't run poorly all season, and I finally did on the biggest stage. Despite that, it was still an amazing experience and I learned a lot.

The indoor season brings new motivations. How have you transitioned? Has training changed significantly? 

The training for cross country seemed to work well for me so we aren't changing much, just a little more speed work for some shorter races.

Which meet or race are you looking forward to the most over indoors and why? 

Whatever the next race is. I like to take it one race at a time and focus on that one. That being said, I have a big race at the New Balance Grand Prix -- O'Brien scored an invitation on Jan. 17 -- coming up and (New Balance) Nationals is on the radar.

Cross Country marked the first time you were able to qualify for Foot Locker Nationals. Are you hoping to make indoor nationals a reality in 2017 as well? If so, what needs to happen for you to make that jump? 

Yes, I would like to go. I've run 8:43 in the 3000m already, which qualifies me for the 5K, but I am confident I will be able to drop 3 seconds and qualify for the two-mile and also get the one-mile time, so I am hoping to have options.

Which opponents do you get the most out of racing? Are there any friendly rivalries out there? Does it make you better as a runner in those races? 

I love racing the guys in New Hampshire because I know a lot of them well and are friends with them. I also like to go out of state for some more competitive races.

What are your broad goals this indoor season? Are there milestones you want to hit? Are they public or private? 

I want to go to Nationals and just run as fast as I can in my events.

Can you describe the feeling of signing with Dartmouth? Why was that a good fit for you? What kind of program will you be joining? 

It was an amazing feeling. Dartmouth is a great program that always seems to be good and qualified for cross country nationals this year. I loved it there and knew it was where I wanted to go after my official visit.

What's been your favorite workout so far this indoor season? 

Progression long run, down to around 5:40 pace. I love long, fast runs.

Can you describe a typical week of training?

Monday: Easy recovery from long run

Tuesday: Speed Workout

Wednesday: Medium long run

Thursday: Tempo type workout

Friday: Easy pre-meet

Saturday: Meet

Sunday: Long run

What are your #MileSplitGoals for 2017?

Break 4:10 or 9:00 (or both)

What's your biggest weakness and why? 

Not letting myself recover enough sometimes.

How do your biggest strengths help make up for it? 

I'm pretty durable and and handle hard work. 

What's your favorite event? 

Probably the 5K during XC, but if I have to pick a track race, the mile.

Quick hits…

Professional athlete you look up to the most: Tom Brady

Why is New Hampshire called the granite state: Because it's awesome.

Weirdest long distance run you've been on: A run where the 40-something year old girls coach kept up with me longer than anyone on my team, except Noah Strout

Pizza or cookies: Pizza

Who's the best athlete in your family and why: Me, because I won the family ping pong tournament and play a nasty wide receiver in football.

Favorite meal to eat the day before track meets: A burger

Website you spend the most time on: Is Netflix a website? (Yes)

How do you think your track career will be remembered by: Hopefully by running fast.

To connect with Milesplit Content Producer Cory Mull, follow him on Twitter @bycorymull. Have a story idea? We're all about those. Email him at cory.mull@flosports.tv. To have access to year-round stats, breaking news, stories and videos, register for Milesplit New Hampshire here.