Women's Running

Step Up Your Game

What does it take to reach the highest levels of collegiate competition? Genetic gifts and lots of training miles may help—but much more goes into leading talented athletes to optimal performances. Gett ing it right involves a focus on everything from recovery to strength training to the words you use to describe yourself.

We’ve tapped some of the NCAA’s top female coaches on the techniques that keep their teams running strong. Their insights can help you reach your own peak, regardless of whether you’re still in school or years past graduation.

Balance your load.

Student athletes have a lot in common with adult runners who aren’t pro athletes, Mauricia Powell of the University of Washington says. Just as you’re likely juggling home, work, and family, they’re managing classes, exams, and plans for the future outside of running. They might run 75 or more miles per week sometimes, but Powell ratchets that down if they’re going through a particularly stressful period.

“Everyone has a finite amount of energy in her body,” she says. “With each athlete, we have to figure out, given the parameters of where we are and what she’s doing, what can she handle?”

After all,

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