You roll over in bed and the clock says 6 a.m. But you still
have a few more hours until your dreaded nine o’clock class
begins, so you happily return to slumber. But the Michigan
women’s cross country team doesn’t have this luxury.
The Wolverines are already up and running.

When you get home from class and you’re eating your dinner
on the couch, guess what the cross country team is doing. Yes, you
guessed it — running.

Sacrificing sleep and leisure time has paid off for junior
captain Rebecca Walter. Placing first for the Wolverines in every
race she has run in the past year and being named an NCAA
All-American and Big Ten cross country’s Athlete of the Year
in 2003 are just few of the many accolades Walter has collected
since beginning her college running career.

Walter credits six-day-a-week practices and strength training to
her high performance level against the best collegiate runners in
the country.

“It helps to get into a routine,” Walter said.

On a typical day during the season, Walter wakes up for her
early morning run, goes to class, attends practice, and is home in
time to do her homework and be in bed by 11:30 p.m., so she can get
up the next day and do it all over again.

For coach Mike McGuire’s team, practice is not something
to be taken lightly.

“Our motto this year is that you race the way you
practice,” Walter said. “Our training is geared to
steadily improve throughout the season, so when the Big Ten
Championships roll around, we are at our best. This isn’t the
case for most teams who tend to train hard, get the rankings and
then teeter out.”

Walter believes that the ability her team has to steadily
improve is what makes it so strong.

The Wolverines run an average of 60 to 70 miles a week, which is
roughly equivalent to running from Ann Arbor to East Lansing. That
is a lot of strain to put on one’s body, and Walter
attributes much of her success to staying injury-free.

“A lot of girls have the talent, but they are just so
plagued by injury,” Walter said. “I have been able to
stay away from injury by paying attention to stretching and
strength training.”

Michigan is off to a promising start, finishing first at the
Indiana State Invitational, and receiving six top-10 performances
at the Spartan Invitational. With the Wolverines returning 16
letter winners from last year’s roster, the team has
experience on its side. According to Walter, the team has just one
weakness: Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

The Wolverines travel to Allendale to compete in the Michigan
Intercollegiate on Oct. 8 at 4 p.m.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.