Life of a College Runner: Preparing for Greatness

Hello dear readers! It’s the week before Conference, so we’re busy getting in a few last workouts and prepping for the end of the season. I hope you enjoy reading about this week!

Monday

Morning: 2.4 miles, 20:00 (8:25/mile)

It was a nice cool morning. My legs were super sore. My calves hurt a lot. These are all the signs that I had an amazing race this last weekend. I know because my body is pretty much destroyed. We talked about the race this morning, and we speculated some more about conference and what we need to do in order to get to where we want to be. I mean, the training is all done. There’s nothing more we can do in that aspect besides maintain our fitness and stay healthy. We talked more about race strategy and our mental mindsets. It started raining after our run.

Afternoon: 4.3 miles, 35:00 (8:12/mile)

This afternoon was a bit of a struggle. We ran out and back into Lisbon. My calves hurt so bad. I ran with Emily and Billie most of the way. On the way down the 1st Street hill, the guys took me with them for a bit, but then I slowed down to get back with the team. After the run, we did strides and core. I had a really nice conversation with Emily, too. She is one of my favorites. I rolled out my calves after practice. I even used the new ones, the R8 roller. Oh my gosh it hurt so bad. I had a knot in my calf. It hurt to walk a bit for the rest of the night, but hopefully it’ll go away.

Tuesday

6.28 miles, 50:00 (7:57/mile)

So, we didn’t do a workout today, like we normally would. It was really windy, so we moved it to tomorrow morning at 6 a.m. Today was just another easy run. Marissa and I ran on our own because we were going farther than everyone and we wanted to do a loop. We did the Ink to Gillette route, which is a little more than six miles. It was pretty windy on the highway, but that was only for a couple hundred meters. Otherwise, it was really nice. We talked a lot about how the team has changed this year and the progress we’ve made. I had a really good time. When we got back we did a couple of quick strides and then core.

Wednesday

6.5 miles

We did our workout this morning. It was pretty chilly. The track was covered in frost on the home stretch, which was a little slippery to run on. The workout was 4 reps of an 800 and a 400 with a little bit of rest in between. I was really nervous going into the workout because I had only gotten 5 hours of sleep the night before. I just could not fall asleep. Our first 800 was supposed to be 3:22, and the rest were supposed to be 3:14, and all of our 400’s were supposed to be 93 seconds. We ran 3:20, 3:14, 3:14, and 3:12, and our 400’s were 92, 91, 93, and 90. The workout felt good for the most part. I think the most difficult part was the last rep of each. Coach Jerry brought his portable speaker out to the track, so we had some music going. That also made it a little easier. After that, we did a couple of fast 200’s, which for me did not end up being that fast. I think I ran around 40 seconds for each. Then we had lifting afterward.

Thursday

Morning: 2.4 miles, 20:00 (8:14/mile)

It was just Marissa and I this morning. I had gotten a lot more rest since yesterday, but I was sore. It was a pretty uneventful morning.

Afternoon: 3.77 miles, 30:00 (8:06/mile)

We went out and back on Standing Rock. Marissa and I were the only ones to turn around at 15 minutes, so we got to run together the whole time. After we got back, we did a couple of strides and then headed inside to do core, because we were both pretty cold.

Friday

7 miles

Today was another workout day. We did a quick 15 minute tempo run out on Ink Road. That went by really fast. It probably also helped that we were going sub-7:00 pace the whole time. Marissa, Erin, Billie, and I stuck together for most of it. I fell behind in the last two minutes or so, but we ran 6:45 and I think I ran 6:55 for the last mile. After that, we waited for the other girls to catch up and then jogged back to the track, where we did a fast mile. My legs felt super tight for the first half of it. It didn’t feel like my legs were warmed up and ready to go again until the last half. We had a prospective student watching the workout, too, which was cool. Bailey was timing us, and as I passed by she yelled at me, “Run faster! Move your arms and legs!” I think she’s having too much fun with this. I finished in 6:12, which was faster than I thought it would be. I have to remember it was after a two-mile tempo. I think our top 3 girls ran sub-6:00, which was really cool. It felt like a good workout, my legs were just hurting. This was a deceivingly hard workout. After a quick cool-down, we went inside and did a 40 minute RAM. That night, my legs really hurt.

Saturday

9 miles, 1:09:15 (7:42/mile)

We did the old Sutliff drop-off run today. It was a pretty chilly morning, but I warmed up eventually on the run. Coach dropped Marissa, Erin, and I off 4 miles into the 13 mile route so we could finish at the bridge. It was an absolutely gorgeous run. My favorite part was at the very beginning, what in years past would have been 3–4 miles in. It was a long uphill that flattened out, and there were beautiful trees on either side with colorful leaves falling. Since it was earlier on, I could enjoy it more rather than just feeling the pain of the uphill. I was our GPS guide for the run because I memorized which streets we had to turn on before we left. It was a difficult route, but we had fun with it. And, for the most part, the run felt easy! We kept a solid 7:30–7:40 pace for the majority of the run. I think the best part was how strong this run made us feel. We need to use the energy from this run at Conference next week.

Speaking of Conference, the big topic of the week was how to prepare. We talked a lot about team expectations going into the next few weeks, and we talked about our individual and team goals, and what we think realistic expectations for the end of the season are. Like I said earlier, we’ve already done all the work that will get us where we need to go. The days of hard training are over. Now it’s just about being smart, taking care of ourselves, and preparing for the big race, mentally as well as physically. It’s so easy to psych yourself out when it comes to races like this. I’ve done it plenty of times. That’s why I think today, and the workout yesterday, were really important for how we think about the upcoming race. When it gets tough, imagine it’s the last rep of a hard workout, or you have a couple of laps to go. Imagine the feeling in your legs when you’re going up a hill or when you’re three miles from the end of the longest run of your life. You made it through the training, so you can make it through this. It all comes back to a familiar saying we have, “Trust your training.” I always think back to workouts during a race. That definitely won’t work for everyone, but knowing I can do stuff like an 11 mile run or 9 miles at sub-8:00 pace, or 1k repeats all around 4:00 average, that can really boost my confidence and make me feel like I can keep pushing.

About 5 miles in, Coach Jerry drove alongside us, and we found out that the 13 and 11 mile men’s groups got lost along the way, so I felt like we were doing pretty well. Once we turned on Yellow Pine Ave, we got another beautiful view of some trees. This is just my favorite time of year because all the trees are changing color and the weather is great. And the trees are just so gorgeous!!

We had a long downhill in the last two miles and picked up the pace to 7:27. The last mile, my hips started to hurt pretty badly. But, before I knew it, we were at the bridge. This was a really great run, though we took it a little harder than we should have. We got to take our annual picture of us on the bridge. Then we piled into the vans and headed back to campus.

Sunday

5 miles, 43:10 (8:38/mile)

This morning, my mum came to pick me up and we ran at the Lake McBride trail, starting at the opposite end from where the team usually starts. We were both feeling pretty sore, so we took it easy. She had a 10k race the day before and I was definitely feeling the effects of the long run. I did most of the talking during the run because I had so many stories to tell her. It’s been a while since we’ve gotten to hang out, and I missed talking to her a lot. It was the perfect morning for it, too. The weather was nice and the trees were lovely. After the run, we stopped to take pictures of the trees. We both struggled up the hill to the end of the trail. It felt like old times when we used to go there to run during the summer and late fall. After the run, we got brunch together. This was just the perfect day, and I’m so happy we were able to do this.

There we are, surrounded by the pretty trees.

So that was my week. We’re preparing for greatness out here. I am so ready for Conference, and to see where both teams end up. I can’t wait! Thanks for reading.

— Morgan

Teacher, Runner, Reader, and Writer. Destined for great things, I think.