Written by Student Assistant Sean Davis
The summer is a time for runners to evaluate the past season, take a week or two off to recover, analyze where they need to improve and then begin the daily grind of becoming faster, stronger and tougher than ever before. One Bronco who is doing just that is Emily Robinson; a cross country and track student athlete for Santa Clara University. After a successful 2012 cross season, running personal bests of 18:15 in the 5K at the Bronco Invite and 21:58 at the West Regional meet in Seattle, Robinson is looking to use her time over the summer to acquire some quality training.
She is sacrificing a larger portion of her summer, some weeks running up to 65 miles a week, all in the hopes of lowering her personal bests and to try and help the team improve on their 21st place finish at West Regionals. If the Broncos are able to stay healthy and train well over the summer, they just might be able to advance to the 2013 NCAA Cross Country National Championships.
To shed some light on her own experience as a runner and what it takes to be a DI student athlete, the Washington native, Robinson, was kind enough to take some time to answer a few questions.
SCU: How did you get your start in running? When was the first time you thought running could be something that you could do on the colleigate level?
ER: I started running in high school, and during my senior year, I completed my first marathon. It was during this time that I really discovered my love for distance running. It was also the first time that I really appreciated running. I continued to run on my own and entered Santa Clara with no intention of running at the collegiate level. But during my freshman year as I was preparing for my second marathon, my success with long-distance running encouraged me to pursue the SCU cross country team. I ended up walking-on to the team in the fall of my sophomore year.
SCU: What was your greatest highlight of your sophomore season?
ER: The NCAA West Regional cross-country meet in Seattle was the highlight of my sophomore season. It was a surreal experience. Not only was I back in my hometown racing against some of my high school teammates, but it was also the most competitive racing our team had seen all season. For me as well as many of my teammates, the Regional meet was one of our best races. Months of training and hard work fell into place, and we could not have asked for a better way to end our season.
SCU: Can you tell us a little about the lifestyle of a runner? What does the average day look like for a Bronco cross country runner?
ER: It is a demanding lifestyle, but I would not want it any other way. We meet for morning practice at 7AM and either drive somewhere for a distance run or stay local for interval/speed workouts at the Rose Gardens. We also do additional strength training, core work and drills. Following practice, we head to class. Depending on mileage, some people will do an additional run in the afternoon. We typically race on Saturday mornings, which are always followed by a long run on Sunday. While it's important to put in all the miles, taking easy or rest days when you need them is key to staying healthy. It is all about learning to listen your body and doing what works best for you.
SCU: What is the greatest aspect of being a part of the SCU cross country squad?
ER: Having such awesome teammates and supportive coaches are what make me look forward to waking up at 6AM to go to practice everyday. We spend a lot of time together from practice to traveling on the weekends, so we have become really close as a team. Without them, it would be a much different experience.
SCU: What are the major goals for the Bronco cross country team coming up this fall?
ER: We are returning most of our top 7 women from the last cross-country season, so we are looking to be just as if not more competitive than last year. Our major goals are staying healthy and free of injury, so that we can continue our success from the last cross-country season and advance to Nationals, something that has yet to be done by the SCU women's team.
SCU: After your sophomore season, what kind of goals are you setting for yourself for next season?
ER: For both cross country and track, my primary goal is always to stay healthy and free of injury. This fall, I am looking forward to improving my 5k time to 17:30 minutes and competing at National's as a team. For next year's track season, my main goals are running under 17:30 minutes in the 5k. I am also looking forward to racing more 10k's with the goal of running sub 37 minutes.
SCU: What are you doing this summer to achieve those goals? What does your summer mileage look like and what kind of training are you planning on doing to prepare yourself for cross (i.e. interval runs, long runs, fartlek runs, tempo runs ect)
ER: I am staying in Santa Clara this summer to take classes and focus on my training. Several of my teammates are also staying in the area, so we are able to train together. During the summer, we focus on base training and high mileage. I will be building up to 65 miles a week in addition to doing strength training a few times a week. The most important part of summer training is our mid-week long runs and Sunday long runs, which range from 90 minutes to 2 hours.
SCU: What is your greatest motivation to do the training required to be a successful runner?
ER: My greatest motivation is the payoff and the sense of satisfaction and enjoyment I get from running and racing. It makes the early mornings, difficult workouts, and demanding training a little bit easier and more enjoyable.