Alumni Focus: Mount Union's Alex Bryan

(Alex Bryan is a 2018 Geneva grad, who represents the University of Mount Union in cross country and distance track events).  

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1) What have been some of the highlights of your college career to this point?   

The highlights of my collegiate career include winning both the indoor and outdoor Ohio Athletic Conference team titles. In the indoor OAC championships I helped bring home the title with two second place finishes in the distance medley relay and the 800m. In the outdoor OAC championships, I also contributed two second place finishes, in the 4x800m relay and the 800m. I'm also very proud of finishing thirty-fourth in Division 3 in the 800m with a PR of 1:52.83.  

2) Discuss the transition from high school competition to competing at the college level. What adjustments did you have to make in order to be as successful as possible?   

The transition from high school to college was difficult for me because of the change in my mileage. In high school, I never reached 50 miles per week but in college I ran consistently at least 50 miles every week. This was a difficult adjustment because I just wasn't used to this high of volume of miles. Once my body got used to it, my fitness improved and I was able to handle these demands and tougher workouts as the season progressed.  

3) Tell us about your training regimen by giving a general overview of what goes into getting prepared for your next big event.   

My typical  week includes two workouts, one long run, and four easy days, along with strength training. The strength training is made up of upper and lower body lifting, core exercises, and hip mobility work. 

4) What athletic-based goals do you hope to accomplish during this upcoming year?   

My main goal for my sophomore season is to get healthy. Dating back to last track season I was dealing with hip and groin pain during runs, workouts, and races. This summer I found out I had a partial-thickness anterior superior labral tear in my hip along with a CAM deformity. So, of course my plan is to get back healthy and remain that way for this upcoming season.  

Secondly, I intend to help win conference titles in cross country and both indoor and outdoor track. I also hope to qualify for the national track meets and help bring a national title home to Mount Union.  

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?   

The big piece of advice I can give to incoming freshman, even upperclassmen, is the always trust your training and to do all of the little things. Doing the little things can do big things. Getting the correct amount of sleep, the proper diet, core, lifting, etc. The little things can help you turn into a better runner. 

When it comes to competing at the next level, I would tell incoming freshman to be fearless. Being fearless means not being afraid of your competition because they have a faster seed time, more experience, or more accolades than you.  You are the only person that can control how you finish, so put yourself in the best place to succeed. 

Balancing training commitments and academic demands can be tough, but if you can take advantage of your free time it will be a lot easier. Instead of browsing through social media in between classes, work on homework. In addition to using your free time effectively, I recommend having a calendar or an academic planner. Having something you can write all of your assignments, goals, and sporting events in is great to keep you from forgetting your important obligations and it can keep you from procrastination. Being a collegiate athlete is a commitment and it all starts in the classroom.