The Bowerman Track Club: Meet The Team

The Bowerman Track Club: Meet The Team

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.

Setting The Pace With The Bowerman Track Club

Setting The Pace With The Bowerman Track Club

Bowerman Track Club

Running is a solitary sport. If you hit the wall, you push past it alone, and making it across the finish is completely up to you.

But, for the professional runners of Jerry Schumacher’s Bowerman Track Club, this is not the case. By living and training together every day, these athletes have recreated the true team atmosphere of high school and college cross country — and the approach is working. This year, the Bowerman Track Club saw 10 of its runners qualify to race on the world’s biggest stage.

Eastbay sat down with three of BTC’s runners: Ryan Hill (5,000m), Evan Jager (steeplechase), and Colleen Quigley (steeplechase) to find out how they are dominating distance running, and what it means to them to be surrounded by the support and motivation of teammates.

Eastbay: When you started running professionally, why was finding a training team so important to you?

Ryan Hill: Back in college, you had the team aspect, which really helped motivate you. But it’s just you
now, so it’s easy to sometimes feel like you’re alone on an island. There are a lot of ups and downs in training and being an athlete. It’s always easier to go through those ups and downs with someone.

Eastbay: What made you choose The Bowerman Track Club?

Evan Jager: It feels like a college team. Everyone is extremely good, everyone works really hard. I love the Bowerman Track Club because we’ve got great coaches, we have a great support system. I think it’s one of the best, if not the best, groups in the States. To be around that team mentality and that really true team feel and also work really hard at the same time and be successful.

Eastbay: What is it like to be a member of The Bowerman Track Club?

Colleen Quigley: We build of each other’s performances and each other’s momentum. The best part of having teammates around is that if you’re having maybe a not so good day and you really need to rely on someone to pull you through a workout, chances are two of them or three of them are having a good day. You’re tucking in the back and holding on for dear life and hoping that three days from now, for the next workout, you’re feeling great and you can help more with the leading of the pace or help push someone else who’s having a bad day. You just trade off that mental load.

Evan: It keeps me honest and it keeps me motivated to get out and train every single day. The most mentally or emotionally helpful a team can be is when things are not going well. If you get a little injury or you hit a little dip in training when things are not going the way you want them to, it’s easy to think negatively on your own and just kind of zero in and focus too much on why things are going poorly. When you have a lot of people who you’re good friends with surrounding you, there’s always someone there to pick up.

Ryan: I think it’s important to look at your teammates – whatever level – as your friends and your family. It’s going to go so much more beyond athletics. These people could be your friends and family for the rest of your life. It’s important to always keep that in mind. It’s not just about competition — winning and losing — it’s about your relationship with your teammates and your friends.