With track season rapidly approaching, Eastbay sat down with Nike’s Bowerman Track Club, one of the country’s top distance-running programs, to find out how elite professional athletes gear up for competition. We’ll be bringing you a series of posts that look at how BTC prepares for greatness, focusing on the team’s mental, physical, and dietary needs.
But first, let’s get to know the team.
Evan Jager – 3,000m steeplechase
“It’s so much easier and so much more fun to be successful if you truly enjoy the sport. Whatever it is you need to do to make that happen — do it. If it’s running with other people, do that. If it’s taking it super seriously and getting really good, do that. If it’s keeping it laid-back and going out for a run and just kind of talking and joking the whole time with your friends, do that. Whatever you can do to make it more fun I think is gonna help you enjoy doing the sport longer, and that’ll just help you get better.”
Emily Infeld – 1,500m-10,000m
“I don’t think I’ve reached my potential yet. I feel like I still have a lot of running in my legs and there’s still room to improve, so just knowing that and trying to keep getting better and consistent year-in and year-out. There’s a lot more that I can do. There are certain times I want to hit that I’m not close to.”
Dan Huling – 3,000m steeplechase
“My motivation to succeed is trying to get the best out of myself. I know a lot of people — they love the motivation of practice. I love the motivation of races. Races are where you find out whether you’re getting the best out of yourself. A lot of my motivation is just to push my physical limits.”
Colleen Quigley – 3,000m steeplechase
“It’s really important to recognize that when you first come in, you’re going to be at the bottom of the totem pole, and you might get your butt kicked in some workouts. That’s actually a good thing! In the end, if you stick with it and are able to step up to the challenge, by the time you’re a junior or senior, you’re going to find more success that you ever could in a smaller program where you’re less challenged.”
Mohammed Ahmed – 5,000m/10,000m
“I definitely love track and field. I’ve had a lot of great moments, and I’ve accomplished a lot. As you get older, your motivations for continuing with the sport change. My biggest motivation is to try and get the best out of my body. That’s really what’s driving me.”
Shelby Houlihan – 5,000m
“I’ve wanted to run professionally since I was five years old. My mom was a professional runner, as well. Growing up around running, it’s just something I always knew I wanted to do. I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life. I’m doing harder workouts than I ever have before, and it’s really helping my confidence level.”
Ryan Hill – 5,000m
“When I joined the group, it wasn’t even The Bowerman Track Club yet. It was just a loose affiliation of Nike runners coached by Jerry Schumacher. It was in my first year that we started finding an identity. We’re not just competitors and stuff like that — we work together. That’s one of the reasons that we all joined a group together, so that we can have friends, family instantly”
Stay tuned for a closer look at how these runners physically prepare for race day. Can’t wait for more BTC? Find out how training with the team has made Ryan, Evan, and Colleen better athletes and stronger competitors here.