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Real Athletes Run, Others Just Play Games

Being a student athlete on the cross country and track team comes with a lot of commitment. We are in season almost the whole year. Most sports only do either fall, winter or spring competitions. For us, races go from September until late May, depending on how far somebody makes it in competition. Because of this, we only get two two week breaks from training— one after cross country and one after track season ends.

This means that in the summer, starting in early June, Coach Arvin sends us a “training package” that we need to follow up until mid-August, the start of our training camp. We don’t meet for practice, but everyone is expected to follow the prescribed training which consists of running, strengthening and stretching. Sometimes this can be very difficult, especially when you don’t have anyone around and have to do all of it by yourself for about three months.

This summer I stayed on campus and worked, so I had to run every day from Loma and try to alternate my three to four routes that I have for running. Although it gets monotonous and very challenging to run so much, especially after working full days, summer training is essential because it gives us the base we need for when we come back to school. We only have about two to three weeks before the first race, so only training for such a short period of time wouldn’t get us ready and fit enough to race. One thing that helps me stay motivated and engaged during summer training is knowing that I have my whole team doing the same thing, and I know they are counting on me just as I am counting on them to do the work.

The first few weeks of school are never easy because we  have to switch gears completely from only focusing on running and the team to managing classes, homework and our social lives while still training at a high level. After the first weeks, it gets a little easier because we find our routines, even though we travel and compete almost every weekend, which makes it difficult to find space to relax and recharge before the start of the next week.

Despite all the sacrifices that we have to make and the huge commitment, being a student athlete at PLNU has definitely been a major highlight of my college experience. I love being surrounded by such a wonderful, motivated and loving group of girls every day and having an extremely dedicated and caring coach who makes going to practice easy. We all share the same passion for running and for becoming better people, supporting and caring for each other along the way. 

About the author

Zita Molnar

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