Meet Coach Andrew Carlson


Though new to Zoom Performance, Andrew Carlson is not new to the national running scene. A high school state champion, three-time All-American at the University of Minnesota, two-time USA National Champion, and current Team USA Minnesota runner, no one can argue with his resume. Besides his passion for going fast, Coach Andrew has the educational background and the strong desire to see each of his athletes achieve his/her potential. We sat down with Coach Andrew to learn more about his drive to Reach the Next Level.

ZOOM PERFORMANCE: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

ANDREW CARLSON: I grew up in Fargo, ND playing all types of sports – mainly baseball, basketball and football. I always thought I would be a professional athlete, but certainly never thought it would be as a distance runner! I was convinced I had all the tools to be a great quarterback, shooting guard, or short stop. For a young person I worked insanely hard at these.

ZOOM: What is your background as an endurance athlete?

AC: I started running in 8th grade to get in shape for basketball. That mind-set did not last very long, though, as I tasted a small amount of success as a runner, and I have been at it ever since. I was the North Dakota State Cross Country champion my senior of high school. Coming from a small state I certainly wasn’t highly recruited, but thankfully I chose to attend the University of Minnesota. I struggled through my first few years of college before really figuring out what it meant to train hard and race at high level. My third year of college I was an All-American in cross country, and in my fourth year I dropped my 5K time from 14:16 to 13:48 (a school record at the time). By the time my college career was over I had attained 3 All-American statuses and had a 5K time of 13:44. I then began my professional career in earnest with Team USA Minnesota in the fall of 2005. I have found my strength is in the longer distances where I have won two US titles (15K-2008 and 25K-2010) and have represented the US in world competition 4 times. My career highlight so far has been my debut marathon at the Olympic Trials in 2012. I was able to place sixth in a time of 2:11:24 (the seventh fastest debut in American history).

ZOOM: What is your background as an endurance coach/education?

AC: I graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Kinesiology degree. I was a volunteer coaching assistant at Northern Arizona University in the fall of 2008. I have been well-coached from high school all the way through my professional career and am excited to utilize this knowledge to help athletes achieve their goals.

ZOOM: What would people be surprised to learn about you?

AC: I am the second fastest in my household as my dog, Rocket, has some serious wheels.

ZOOM: How did you find your way to Zoom?

AC: My good friend Antonio Vega spoke very highly of Zoom and encouraged me to get in contact with Matt Zepeda.

ZOOM: Describe your coaching philosophy.

AC: Someone once said, “Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn’t work hard.” My philosophy is that there is an athlete that lives in every one of us, and my goal is to create a program that allows athletes to become the best athlete they possibly can. I will not mince words – it does take hard work to achieve big goals. I want to assist athletes in that pursuit.

ZOOM: What is your goal as a coach when working with an athlete?

AC: My goal as a coach is understand and figure out what elements of training and racing bring out the best in each athlete. Running can be a very simple and complicated sport at the same time. What works for one athlete may not work for another, so my goal is to help athletes attain their goals and then to achieve things they never thought possible!

ZOOM: Any closing thoughts?

AC: There is an athlete that lives in every one of us and my goal is to bring that best athlete out. Whether your goal is to complete your first 5K, run a marathon, qualify for Boston, or qualify for the Olympics, I want to be there every step of the way helping you realize your goals!