This post is for those who are unsure of what is next after collegiate running?
I think the question of, “What’s next?” is the biggest question I get when talking to college-aged runners.
And I think the answer is pretty complicated…so this post will try to answer it simply, before I dive into a series just for the post-collegiate runner.
The first question you have to ask yourself is, “What is your goal in running after college?” Is it to have fun? Is it to continue living a healthy and active lifestyle? Is it to continue getting faster? Is it to qualify for the Olympic Trials or US Championships? Is it to become an Olympian? Is it all of the above?
The answer you choose will lead you to answer the “What’s next?” question.
This post is simply for those who choose some sort of the following answers…
It’s to continue getting faster.
It’s to qualify for the Olympic Trials or US Championships.
It’s to become an Olympian.
So, here’s what is next…
Lots of hard and consistent work. I would venture that the success you found in college came after bouts of hard work for consistent periods of time. The same is expected as a post-college runner.
In most cases it is harder to be consistent as a post-collegiate runner…especially if you don’t sign a contract that will support your running without having to work. In college you are a student first, then athlete, but the student schedule is manageable and set up with your practices as an athlete in mind. If you are working 8AM-5PM, then it’s early mornings and fitting in runs after work.
You WILL miss your teammates. In college you are training with your teammates at a minimum of 75% of time, if not more. If you are not able to latch on with a group, or if you are unable to match a team or club’s schedule because of work or life commitments…IT WILL BE A HARD ROAD. You will miss your former teammates.
So make sure you find a routine and you get into it FAST!!! The longer you are out of the routine of hard and consistent work the harder it is to get back into it.
Most post-college runners who are chasing faster times, qualifications, or Olympic dreams don’t allow themselves to get that far. They succumb to the hard life of lonely miles in the dark of morning and night.
But, Frank Shorter said it best…I started in law school in ’71 and graduated in ’74. So I was training for the Olympics, running or averaging around 20 miles a day and going to law school full time.
So…my question is: What’s your excuse? (Thanks for the inspiration Darren Flowers!)