July 17 2015
A running coach weights in on one newbie’s plans for running her first half marathon.
For most girls, the final year of high school is a time for college applications, prom dress shopping and a serious case of senioritis. But for 17-time high school All-American Wesley Frazier, of Raleigh, N.C., senior year came with a side of fierce competition on a national level. Four-time state champ in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 meters, this endurance queen also donned the long-distance triple crown this year. By winning the 1-mile, 2-mile and 5,000 meters at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals, Frazier became the first female to earn all three titles in the same meet. The Ravenscroft School class of 2013 grad (now racing for Duke University) shares what it takes to be a precollege speedster.
Manage your time.
“Plan school and trainings as far in advance as you can, and stick to [your agenda] as much as possible—don’t procrastinate,” Frazier stresses. A proper sleep schedule also plays into time management. Frazier suggests the early bird approach to finishing last-minute homework. Instead of staying up into the wee hours of the night, prep for an earlier rise and crank out some math problems before homeroom. It’s easier to plan for a productive morning than suffer the groggy consequences of an unexpected late-night session.
Regularity breeds success. The best way to remain consistent in training is to have a plan that you fully understand and believe in. “If you are unsure why you are doing certain workouts, the desire to maintain consistency and motivation is lost,” Frazier says. Waking up, eating, training and hitting the hay at the same time every day are also key to running regularly as is allowing free time to get other things done. “Just find the joy and keep it fun,” Frazier adds. Running is a healthy stress reliever and harnessing that perk of the sport will promote your desire to create a foolproof schedule.
Embrace the community.
“One freshman told me I was her idol, and she hopes to be able to compete and execute a race one day like I do,” Frazier says, adding that she was impressed that the freshie followed her career in the first place. “People who run at a really competitive level do it because they love it. It’s fun to watch others compete and discover that excitement.” Frazier thinks of running as a family of supporters and athletes. Even when your goal race doesn’t turn out as you’d hoped, applaud the girl who out-kicked you. You may have fueled her high-gear performance with a previous feat!
Frazier treats great and horrible races equally. “I realize that one race isn’t going to make or break you,” she explains. “I have the same attitude about good races: I’m happy for what I did, but I’m always looking forward to the next meet. I don’t dwell.” While it is easy to sulk about a poor performance, there is always a chance to catch that taunting ponytail in front of you the next time you’re on the track. “Running forces you to get in touch with yourself and helps you understand what you’re capable of in anything,” she adds. True story—learning how to overcome on-the-track challenges will increase your ability to conquer other difficulties that life may toss your way.
When you’re a high-level trackstar, the end of your season includes lots of travel to state and national meets. Frazier stresses the importance of finding healthy food options everywhere you compete. Since this search can be tricky, she likes to reach for go-tos like bagels and bananas that can be sought out practically anywhere. “They are easy and have a good amount of carbs and potassium. I eat both before every race,” she says. Need suggestions for balanced options on the road? The Yelp app (yelp.com) is free and will help to sort fresh cuisines from fried.
“Running in the morning wakes me up and makes me feel fresh and prepared for the day,” says Frazier, who attests skipping her a.m. run results in a not-very-fun school day. This effect is not just in her head. Research shows that a sunrise workout can have the same energizing properties as caffeine. What better way to prepare your mind for those cumbersome college apps than a quick scamper through your neighborhood?
According to Frazier, making sure to get your full eight hours of shut-eye is essential for maintaining proper energy levels. “I usually don’t notice [the consequences of less sleep] for a day or two. But then I’m tired and sluggish, and my runs go terribly.” Cutting out z’s can leave you too exhausted to tackle that early morning date with your trainers. But when life throws a wrench in your sleep schedule, don’t stress! Losing sleep over losing sleep is counterproductive. Keep your cool and catch the right hours the following night.