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Some of the best moments and highlights of my college career have been winning three conference championships, earning all-conference seven times, and setting our school record in the 3000 meter steeplechase. It has also been exciting earning third place finishes at the last three conference championships as a team in cross country.
Jumping from the high school to collegiate level is not an easy transition, especially if you are used to being top dog and controlling your team. College, especially for me at the Division 1 level, put me in place and made me step back and take it all in. To compete at this level, I would have to work so much harder than before and change my lifestyle honestly. This meant my mileage increasing, changing my diet, and putting running first in a lot of ways. It is easy to lose sight of why you love the sport, but once you reap the benefits of your changes, there is nothing like it.
3) Tell us about your training regimen by giving a general overview of what goes into getting prepared for your next big event.
Competing in cross country, indoor track and field, and outdoor track and field means constant training for me year-round with minimal days off. To get prepared for my next race or meet I need to be consistent in my training and follow my coaches plan. Generally, this means two workouts a week and recovery most of the other days. I maintain a high level of mileage, so I use recovery days to hit some easier mileage and let my body recover. Workout days are crucial for fine tuning and making sure my body is ready to compete. I also need recovery in other forms like stretching, ice baths, lifting and more to be fully prepared. There is a lot that goes into the process that many people do not see.
I am actually going to be redshirting this upcoming year to focus on improving myself and allowing time for my team to grow and mature. Therefore, I just want to have a consistent year of training and take my running to the next level. I have done really well in my career and want to end on a positive note and having this year to just train and grow will allow me to do that. I am currently training for the Columbus Half Marathon in October and will look to compete and run a fast time as my opener for longer events. I will also be focused on lowering my 5k time once track season comes around and running unattached in meets to have some fun. The motto this year is to focus on the little things to do whatever I can to set myself up for a successful redshirt senior year.
(Alec Sandusky plans to rely on the experience and fitness he's acquired from cross country and track as he looks to make a name for himself on the road racing circuit).
5) Do you have any advice that you can offer an incoming freshman on how to best deal with the higher level of competition they'll encounter at the college level? Also, what tips can you provide regarding the balance between training commitments and academic demands?
Talent will not overcome hard work at the collegiate level. You can be the best runner to come out of Ohio and I promise someone, or many will be better than you because they have been in the system and put in the work. Do not be afraid to take risks and push your body, but be smart and have fun with it. The main thing is to follow your plan and trust your coach, you chose that university for a reason so trust them. Never come in with a big head, it will come back to bite you. Come in hungry and willing to work so that you grow and help your team in any way possible.
Regarding academic demands and athletics, time management is vital to success in college. It is very easy to get sidetracked or lose focus, but you have to keep your head on straight and look at what is important. You go to college to earn a degree first, so treat it that way. It is okay to give yourself some breaks and have fun, but do not do anything to jeopardize the reason that you are there. College requires more from you academically as well so be prepared for that. You may be able to get by without studying in high school, but that will not work in college. These will be the best four years of your life if you are smart and do it right, good luck!