Author Archives: ruthengland
I wish I could start off by saying that my transition from college track to Olympic Development training has been smooth and easy… but that would be a boldfaced lie. I can honestly say that my first 7 months in Austin have had more failures than successes, more struggles than victories, and more hardships than cheer. But then again, which Olympic athlete has ever made it to the finish line, looked back and said, “Wow, that was easy!” Very few, if any.
All that being said, I truly cherish the opportunity to be a member of the Rogue AC team, and I value each and every relationship I have made. I have learned, in a very humbling way, what it truly takes to become an elite athlete and how the definition of ‘elite’ has changed over time. I have recognized the magnitude of mental toughness and inner confidence that athletes must own in order to make it to the next level. I have realized that self-discipline, personal sacrifice, and consistency are vital, and that stepping out of your comfort zone to reach places you’ve never been is a must. I have identified that a successful athlete will listen to their body, not their pride, and they will understand how to work smarter, not necessarily harder. Lastly, I have observed the unspoken trust that champions possess in their coach and teammates, and the ongoing communication kept between the group. Needless to say, becoming an Olympic-caliber athlete is no simple task.
Although I have yet to attain my performance goals and still have a long way to go, the insight that I’ve gained from being a part of such an elite group has really opened my eyes to where I need to go from here. You know what they say… “You must reach the bottom to make it to the top.” And luckily, I now understand the attributes I must improve on to only go up from here.
by Leslie Boozer
In an effort to avoid too dull of a blog, I’ll try and err on the side of brevity. For anyone who does not know me, cross country is not particularly “my thing”. I have an abundance of respect for the athletes who thrive in the hills, mud, and grass I just prefer a flatter more predictable route. But, since leaving college I’ve really worked on embracing cross country a bit more (which is easier to do when you only have to commit yourself to 2 races for the year). So I strapped on my adidas spikes in December and I was fortunate enough to have them run my feet all the way to Scotland (people should really invest in a pair of adizero spikes, they’re exceptionally good at turning people international) and that was pretty neat. I’d never been outside the continental US so needless to say it was a pretty incredible experience, despite being someone who is not necessarily pro-elements (wind, ice, rain, hills, creeks running through the course, etc.).
Such an amazing opportunity did come at a bit of a price: extending my cross season well beyond what it normally is. I love running, I really do, but sometimes I’m tired. Sometimes I just want to take a break, and sometimes I don’t want to run indoor and I kind of think that’s ok. My dad once told me to choose my battles, which is an incredibly difficult piece of advice to follow for me in particular (I’m sure Mark Feigen could easily validate that for you). But I realized that I want to be able to show the hard work Steve, Ruth, Anthony, and SPI put into me, through my performances. I’d also really like to be able to give a nice big thank you to Adidas, and my parents of course, for their support via some low numbers on the track, that’s why I decided to skip over indoors and focus on outdoors.
So that’s kind of what I’ve been doing the past couple of months – not running indoor. I decided it was a good time to get some solid training in, and Steve saw it as a prime opportunity to have me run some of my least favorite workouts and that’s where I am now, running workouts and excited for outdoor.
It’s been a minute since I have given an update on how awesome life here in Austin is. I will go ahead and say that I am living the dream, baby! High-fives are greatly accepted. I am continuing to pursue my medical profession by working with the great Dr. Ted Spears along with the wonderful physical therapists at Sports Performance International. I have learned a surmountable amount of information on patient care, and the ever-enjoyable phone calls with insurance companies.
Tying into my medical career, I continue to train full-time with Rogue Athletic Club, and training has never been better since the move to Austin, Texas. Last year was a constant struggle with the early morning routines of hard workouts, lack of coffee, and mediocre race results; not to mention my season ending injury in May. Subsequent to our winter break, my training has turned completely around. This didn’t happen by what Steve calls “magic.” I credit the accountability of my training partners JT, Buss, Devin, Gowell, and Hick, mostly. Sure I have become a lot more disciplined by going into the weight room, doing speed development, drills, strides, nutrition, you name it, on my own accord, but it was because of my training partners that I developed the discipline. The group’s moral and comradery has never been better. It feels like family.
As aforementioned, training is going quite well. However, I do still have an occasional sub-par workout performance. I’d like to address the importance of keeping one’s composure of a perceptible “unacceptable” workout or race performance. Pheobe Wright’s article addressing this issue was spot on, and I wanted to articulate how I deal with “a bad day at the office.”
First off, realizing that you aren’t the exclusive athlete dealing with post-race or post-workout depression is a crucial step to getting over the issue. The sooner you get over it, the better. Why linger on something that isn’t a definitive test of your fitness? There are only two races to be ready for –the 2015 USA Championships and the 2016 Olympic Trials. We all have an occasional mediocre, or just a piss-poor, race or workout. One thing I have come to realize is that one event does not define you as an athlete, or a person. It is how you subsequently assess the situation and what you do to prepare for the next race or workout, and how quickly you put it behind you. The mental struggle usually begins even before the gun goes off or before your coach says, “go” on your first interval. Mental preparedness is THE most important step to having a good session or race, but all athletes are head cases, and we occasionally fall short to mentally prepare, or just have negative thoughts. Yes, it’s going to hurt, A LOT, but that is the unwritten contract that every distance runner signs.
Steve reminds me to look at all the positives in my current training block. One negative experience does not make the holistic training block negative. There are unarguably more positives then there are negatives when comparing to a single workout or race. Again, it DOES NOT DEFINE YOU! Not only listening to your philosophical coach is valuable, but also being vulnerable to suggestion from your training partners is essential to one’s success to getting over the workout or race. Grab a beer, joke about how terrible it went, and have some more beer. Any IPA will do.
Accept that there are going to be obstacles thrown into your training. Reach out to the community around you, and most of all…continue to have fun with what you are doing. Til next time my friends.
Disclaimer: I am not a clinical psychologist.