Cross-country runners recount typical day

Butler women's cross-country finished third at nationals last season. Collegian file photo

Butler women’s cross-country finished third at nationals last season. Collegian file photo


Being a student athlete is a daily challenge requiring a delicate balance between school and your particular sport while still managing to find time for yourself.  The Butler University Cross-country runners are no exception to this idea.

For the runners, each day begins much earlier than most.

“I usually wake up around 6:00 am. I have a coffee and a cereal bar or banana and then go to morning practice,” said Katie Good, a senior runner from Manchester, U.K.

For most, it would seem that getting up as early as 6:00 am would be the struggle of the day, but these runners follow this early morning wake-up call with a 10-mile run.

“If the team wasn’t there in the mornings, some days there’s a good chance I wouldn’t be able to go out and run, especially at the pace we do,” added Laura Riches, a junior runner from Manchester.

As for anyone, balancing school with outside activities is a task. For these athletes, it is something that is a constant challenge. Most of the runners keep their classes in the afternoon, so they have the mid-morning to rest and recuperate and the evenings for homework and studying.

“Juggling school and running is a challenge but it does teach me numerous transferable skills that would be fundamental in my career,” Good said. “You just have to be organized.”

In order to be able to keep up and stay at the physical level the runners do, they must eat more than the average person.

“It’s an extra 100 calories per mile, so on the average day we have to eat 1000 more calories than others,” Riches said.

These calories, though, are not all cake and ice cream.

“Proper nutrition is key to performing your best in running,” Good said. “My coach once told me that we have to treat our bodies like cars and top it up with premium gas, so that’s definitely something I strive for in my diet.”

Runners value the time leading up to the races. From training, to eating, to even pregame rituals, each runner has their own special parts of their routine.

Both Good and Riches said that they always eat a pasta meal the night before a race otherwise they cannot race.

Good, however, describes herself as “not necessarily superstitious but slightly obsessive.”

Before each race, she will lay out her uniform with her race number already pinned on, while Riches must have a certain hairstyle for the race itself.

Despite the intensity of the sport, Riches said cross-country runners are just like any other students on campus.

“I think people think that the cross-country runners are completely strange or all we do is run,” she said. “We aren’t just boring. We are all very friendly and we do have fun when we’re not racing.”