(Photos courtesy of Kauren Tarver)
Kauren Tarver was a phenomenal high school athlete, ranking 7th all time in terms of combined Footlocker finishes (sixth-2004, fifth-2005, seventh-2006 and tenth-2007). Being an elite prep can prove to be a daunting challenge. When you get to college you are no longer the best. In this week's edition of Pro-Tips Milesplit sits down with Kauren Tarver to discuss managing expectations going into a college program.
What expectations did you have going into college?
My expectations going into college were very intense training and a lot of racing. My training had been completely different in high school and it was definitely a transition into college. I expected to be racing a lot more in college.
In what ways did you find running in college different than running in HS?
Instead of racing every week or twice a week, college was limited to maybe 4-6 races a season. But those races were at such a high intensity and effort, there were no need for more "fill-in" races like high school had. Training days and workout days all had a purpose and plan for the future instead of just casual runs just to get a run in. Everything had a purpose.
What were some of the adjustments you had to make?
I had to adjust the amount of miles I was putting in weekly. Instead of 25-30 miles a week I was training about 45-50. This was a big jump for me. As well as actual structured workouts and their benefits. With running more and working out twice or three times a week I had to adjust my sleeping schedule and my nutrition to better excel in my sport.
What would you have liked to know then that you know now?
I would have loved to know about "maintenance exercises" to stay injury free. Just like more dynamic drills and strengthening exercises to improve my form and efficiency as a runner.
What advice would you give to kids preparing to make the transition?
Don't stress! Your coach and team mates will help you with the transition from high school to college training and racing. Be patient with it, it takes time adjust to new training plans, being away from home, and managing school and training. Communication with your coach before the transition always helps to make that process easier. (My transition was running at 5:30 to beat the heat!!)
How do you feel is the best way for successful high school athletes to manage expectations?
I was able to manage the expectations from others when I sat down and wrote out my own goals and expectations for myself. By talking with my coach and figuring out goals each year definitely helped with my success and handle the pressures from other people. I had to trust my coach that he had my best interest in mind when he created my workouts and race plans.