Many runners at California Baptist University accept the challenge of being on both the cross country and track teams while balancing academics.
Often, these distance runners are able to translate their skills easily from cross country to track.
Athletes who participate in both sports must prepare themselves physically and academically for a competition season that spans the fall and spring semesters.
“Just like anything in life, if you are doing something consistently without interruption, you tend to get better and better at it,” said Sean Henning, assitant coach of the cross coutry and track teams. “The same is true of running.”
Jerimiah Gotts, freshmen mechanical engineering major and cross country and track runner at CBU, said it takes a certain level of discipline, perseverance and organization to succeed with this lifestyle.
As these athletes push themselves to beat their own personal records during races, training and eating right contributes to their performance.
“It’s the little things that count, and that is something that usually takes people a couple years to figure out,” Gotts said.
Some of the things athletes do to make a difference in the long run include: staying hydrated, eating right and resting their bodies to recover from their strenuous workouts.
As a distance runner, Gotts said that every bit of training, no matter how menial it may seem, will help him to go farther or faster.
Gotts also said runners have to develop a specific level of dedication while training. Runners develop perseverance, as it takes two to three weeks from the initial workout to see results and make an athlete a better runner.
He said training at a personal level is huge, as coaches can give instruction, but unless the runner is challenging his or her own capabilities the individual will not improve. For runners, it is not about achieving the minimum, it is about creating a new standard.
“Unless you actually make sure that you are working hard every day, you could go through all the motions and do not actually get any faster,” Gotts said.
The discipline and work ethic needed while runners train during season translates over into academics. While keeping up with the physical demands of being an athlete, Gotts said time management is key to being a successful student-athlete.
He said if someone does not know how to balance his or her schedule the person will not be able to succeed, regardless if they are an athlete or not.
Gotts said he has less free time than his friends, but sees his time as an investment. He said for anyone participating in a sport as time-consuming as cross country and track, a person has to believe the time is well-spent.
“You have to love the sport you’re doing,” Gotts said.
Cross country and track athletes continue to go the distance, succeeding as both runners and students.