Boston College Cross-Country
With Heartbreak Hill in their backyard and the Chestnut Hill Reservoir around the corner, it’s no wonder the BC women’s cross-country team consistently makes the NCAA tournament. Captain and five-time all-conference Jillian King led the team this year, setting the indoor-mile record (among countless others) and placing 19th in the country. What makes these girls so good? Practice—lots of it. “When it comes down to it, running well is about training,” says assistant coach Julie Heyde. “It’s about running fast and hard when you need to, and being the most prepared to do just that.”
Off the Trail
Runners logging serious miles each week need to make maintenance just as important as exercise. Heating muscles in a whirlpool or with heat pads before a run will loosen up legs and prepare them for stretching, another crucial step. For muscle recovery post-exercise, Heyde recommends yoga, foam rolling, and massage therapy. Ask your therapist to use the active-release technique if a certain muscle is chronically tight—it might leave you sore, but will increase blood flow to speed recovery.
“Packed dirt and grass are the ideal terrains. Shoot for at least one run per week on a soft surface.”
Feet often swell during runs, and the last thing you want is a blister. Try going up half a size in training shoes to avoid bloody toes.
Sneakers should be replaced every 300 to 400 miles. Doing anything other than running in them will cut wear time in half.
Experienced professionals at a running store can help you find the perfect pair. Marathon Sports is a local favorite.
Heartbreak Hill Striders
$150 per year, heartbreakhill.org.
Train with coaches from the Heartbreak Hill Striders on the Wellesley High School track.
$120 per year ($75 for six months), communityrunning.org.
A great option for “middle-to-back-of-the-pack runners” who enjoy the social aspect more than the sport.
Check out “Home Team Workouts” to find out how other college teams in Boston get fit.