For the 2017 Cross Country newsletter, I collected quick pieces of advice from several Runnin' Raiders alumni near and far. These young people have had some really cool experiences with running and offer some great advice.
Here are a few snippets.
What were your best memories from high school running?
Getting to run and workout with all my teammates. Some days we would disagree, but in the end we were a team and a family. I would do anything to run into battle with them one more time. Parker Harrison, BHSU
There are so many good memories, but some of my favorite would include, winning State Cross Country, State Track, and the 4x800m relay two years in a row! I also love looking back at fun team activities like bus rides and team dinners! Jamie Schweiss, SDSU
We wore pink on the run on Wednesday; something to make it so fun! I will never forget our team championship in 2014, Doc's 50th, the 2014 blizzard before the state meet and all of the memories made along the way. Tamara Gorman, University of Minnesota & USA Triathlon
There are really too many memories for me to pick just a few of my favorites. What I will say is that all of my favorite memories had less to do with a specific race or personal achievement/performance and more to do with my teammates. Whether it was the bus rides, conversations on easy runs, or team get-togethers, those types of team bonding moments are what I remember most fondly. Max Hofmann, Boston Marathon Qualifier.
Winning back-to-back state track titles So. and Jr. year. To be able to deliver points in multiple events to help the team reach its goal was a feeling like no other. The camaraderie with my teammates was special as well. There is no one you'll ever grow closer to than a person that you run hundreds of miles with all year long, or suffer through the grueling track workouts with all Spring. Riley Coates, Air Force Academy
Winning the 4x800 at the State Meet in 2014 with Tom Pfiefle, Connor Haaland and Kyle Burdick. Matt Wilson, SDSU
Bus trips and overnight stays were always a blast. Favorite meet every year was Huron, it was always a fun one. Running on the bike path and jumping in the creek one summer day because it was soooo hot. Winning state XC as a team, being state champs in the 4x800 and medley relay. I loved pasta feeds and all the fun traditions the team kept and fun activities we would do even outside of practice. Renae Dykstra, SDSU
Winning state with the girls cross country team was a great experience but I mostly loved working hard with the team and pushing each other. Jessica Bailey, University of Montana
Finding out Riley Coates loved Taylor Swift and singing her songs while running (until we couldn't keep pace and started breathing too heavily). Aaron Schone, BHSU
What advice would you give to current Runnin' Raiders?
Make sure to always put the work in, no matter how tired you might be on that day. All of the little things count and add up. Jessica Bailey, University of Montana
Have fun, don't stress too much about a meet or workout. You're there to have fun, do the best you can, and use the gift or passion you have. Renae Dykstra, SDSU
Enjoy the process. Running is full of highs and lows. As terrible as the injuries and poor races might feel, nothing compares to seeing all your hard work pay off and running a big PR. You need to fall in love with the process of getting better every day. Matt Wilson, SDSU
Trust the process. Be patient yet relentless in your training. Some of the worst Freshmen/Sophomores end up becoming the fastest upperclassmen because they never gave up and let nothing discourage them. All it takes is one good summer to go from being a JV runner to a team scorer at the state championship. There is no reason to mentally limit yourself to what you did last season. High school is a time where your body is still developing and everyone makes jumps at different times and to varying degrees. One year's time can make a huge difference, especially when you elevate your training. Championships are won by teams that collectively make the decision to commit to the program wholeheartedly for 4 years, even with the smallest amounts of talent at the onset. Finally, give it 100%; this is a time you never want to look back on and think "I know I could have done more, but I never found my ceiling because I didn't." Riley Coates, Air Force Academy
I have 3 main pieces of advice that I wish I would've followed a little more closely over my high school career:
1. Stay consistent. I know from experience that it can be very easy to get burnt out running nearly year round but consistency is really one of the best way to make improvements. In high school, I would train hard every track/cross country season only to take extended time off over each summer/winter, which I paid for dearly at the beginning of the subsequent season. Try your best to build a strong base and it'll really pay off by the time the season rolls around.
2. Take easy miles EASY. I really can't stress this one enough. I know most runners hear it all the time but it's because it's that important. Lot's of people can take off and run 7:00-7:15 minute miles or faster for every run but the real skill is in running slower when necessary. Just trust that when teammates want to push the pace that by hanging back and running relaxed on recovery days you'll actually be the one improving the most.
3. Have fun! Another big cliche but you can truly never prepare for just how quickly high school goes by. Some of my favorite memories were made running cross and track so enjoy every moment while you can! Max Hofmann, Boston Marathon Qualifier
Enjoy every moment with your teammates! Work hard & have fun! Tamara Gorman, University of Minnesota, USA Triathlon
A piece of advice I can too high school runners would be to enjoy your time as a high school athlete. There is nothing like it and it goes by so fast! Jamie Schweiss, SDSU
Keep grounded in why you run. Do the little things to stay injury free and just have fun with it. Running doesn’t always have to be serious but it can be fun to train hard and run fast! Tristan Christoffer, Ft. Lewis College
Just keep working... sometimes the best come from the most unlikely of places. Matt Cox, DSU