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  • Michelle Howell

Q+A: Being apart of a pro team

As promised we are back again with another addition of q+a. This time around I've tried to clump questions together that were along the same line. Last time I went over the process of joining a pro team post-college. Moving along today we're hitting on the in/outs of being apart of a track club. As a reminder, these views and opinions are based on my own experience and may not be reflective of anyone else's.

Do you or any of your teammates work part-time or full-time?

None of my teammates work full time. Several of us work semi part time. As I've said before we jokingly say that we are part-time, part-time because, in reality, it's difficult to commit to more than 10, maybe 15 hours a week due to our practices. This is partially due to our training schedules which in itself is a part-time job- Monday- Saturday from 9:00-12:00 (not including travel time) and factor in at least another hour of cross-training per day, therapy appointments, and additional physical therapy/ pre-hab and you're not left with much time. Especially assuming you're getting in 8- 10 hours of sleep a day (most of us on the team nap in addition to this during the day, especially on our workout days which is twice to three times per week).

On top of that, you have to account for travel to and from meets. Most employers won't be too keen on you leaving for two-three days at a time multiple times per month and sometimes with less than a week's notice as opportunities pop up. Unlike college, you're meet schedule will be less structured because you're following the fast people versus just showing up and hoping to get in a good field. Not to say a job is not doable, but finding one that checks all these boxes is difficult to say the least. That's part of the reason coaching is a good fit for most of us or remote work that can be done on your own schedule.

Do you get more benefits/ sponsors when you have faster PR's?

Not necessarily. You would think with track being a pretty clear cut sport it would be easy to determine who gets more funding than others based on performance, but there's more to it than that. Partially it's based on connections and who you know. There are plenty of people out there who have fast PR's and are not sponsored or supported. Examples include Stephanie Brown .

Does being a part of a track club cover travel costs to meets?

Yes, this is not necessarily the case for all. Just like in college at this level, there is a sliding scale of support based on the type of club you join and just because you're a part of a club does not mean they will cover all your needs. Our club for example is based on performance-you earn what you're given. 

Is it more competitive at practices than in the college setting? How is the team dynamic different- being on a team, but running as an individual?

The team dynamic at our practices is very different from my college experience. Not that it's not competitive, but I would say we work together better and are more supportive of one another than my college environment was. I think we're competitive with one another, but in a respectful way- no one is trying to win the warm up or push the pace absurdly for no reason. We push each other when it's appropriate and if someone is having a really good day and feeling good, you let them do them.

Even though we are a team in the sense that we train together it does feel different because you don't come together to achieve anything as a unit except the rare time you run a relay. With that being said I enjoy it because it's nice to run for myself for once, but still have that same kind of support system you get with a team.

I've loved taking the time to answer these questions. I hope this q+a's are insightful and hope to continue with them again in the new year so keep your questions coming!