What I seek for the runners I coach is their gold medal' performance. A personal gold medal performance is what might be called a supreme achievement for that individual. For what athletics is all about is the pursuit of excellence. When you have prepared yourself very well for the challenge, and have raced at the peak of your physical and mental resources, there comes a sense of fulfillment and achievement that more than compensates for all the effort. You gain a dimension of character that you can call on whenever you have to.
No one system works for all athletes. The key to successful training is to match the training loads to what the individual athlete benefits from. For some athletes, that might mean more weekly mileage, for another that might mean scheduling two water workouts per week because more running results in breakdown. Generally, we stress the importance of base fitness, the periodization of speed work, and not over racing.
Goals For the Runner and Team
I have goals for our team and I have goals for each individual. For the team, we always have it in our minds to be a top national class team. Locally we have good competition so it usually goes hand in hand that if we can compete in our own backyard we can do very well on the national scene as well. History has proven this. For individuals on my team, I am typically trying to help them move up two or three levels of competition. So that if they are already a strong local performer, I am trying to get them to move up to a national class performer. If the athlete is a strong national class performer, I am trying to get them to an international class level of performance. In other words, I see my job as a coach to help the athlete to improve.
Education and Athletics
I love the sport, but it is no substitute for a good education nor a career. In its place, the sport brings a wonderful zest and excitement to life. But it is critical not to allow the sport to get in the way of the full development of other aspects of life. The primary purpose for attending college is to receive a strong education and to lay the ground work for one's career. The key to success in athletics and academics is to budget one's time wisely. We often find that when runners are running well, their academics are going well too. That is because they have their priorities straight and they are focused on what they want to achieve.
Bruce Lehane has been the distance coach at BU since 1982. Lehane has developed NCAA champions on both the men's and women's teams, coaching 37 Division I All-Americans and 24 IC4A/ECAC individual champions. He has helped numerous athletes become national champions, including Lesley Lehane, Jennifer Lanctot, Dean Crowe, Are Nakkim, Cathy O'Brien, Karl Rasmussen, Eirik Hansen and Rosemary Ryan. Nine of his athletes have qualified for the World Cross Country Championships, including two-time U.S. National Champion Lesley Lehane, who placed fifth overall at the 1987 Cross-Country World Championships, helping Team USA win the world title. He has coached two Olympians - Cathy O'Brien, who represented the U.S. in the marathon at age 20, and Rosemary Ryan, who represented Ireland in the 5000 meter run.
The men's cross country team has competed in 10 NCAA Championships, including three top-10 finishes. Since the inception of the America East Conference, the women's cross country team has won 15 out of 19 conference championships.
A native of Boston, Lehane graduated from Boston State College in 1970, where he set school records in the 880m and mile run, earning N.A.I.A. All-America status during his junior and senior years. Lehane graduated from the University of Lowell with a masters degree in reading and language. For five years, he taught developmental and remedial reading in the Maine public school system. Bruce and his wife, Lesley, have three sons, Blaize, Elliot and Aidan.