Meet Quincey Hettinger, a freshman at BYU and the Guest Editor in the March-April edition of Youth Runner Magazine. This is week two of many weekly blog posts you can look forward to from Quincey. This week she talks about the "Voice in her Head" that she hears when she is running. She would like to hear your comments and questions so go ahead and leave them below for her. 

My father was a very accomplished high school football player. Living in a small rural community in Southern Illinois, the Friday night football games were the highlight of the weekend for members of the small community of Petersburg, Illinois. The townsfolk knew the players by name and were very devoted fans. During the games, the crowd would cheer for my dad, hundreds of fans calling his name. Interestingly, he never heard crowds cheer. He only heard one voice - his coach.

As a member of a running team, we spend lots of time with our coach. They are the voice we hear in our heads when the gun goes off and when we cross the finish line. They are the voice we hear when we are tired and discouraged and are the first voice we hear when we have won the race.

During our season, our coaches give us lots of insightful advice and counsel. Here are my top 5 words of wisdom from my amazing coach, Mike Mena.


5   “Where are your sweats? No sweats - time for pushups!”

Running requires more than just putting on a pair of shoes and going out the door. As an incentive to help us remember to bring our watches, sweats, and water to practice, my coach would have us do pushups if we forgot our gear. Watches are important, during repeats, long runs and tempo runs, to see if you are hitting your marks and to see improvement. Sweats are important during warm and cool downs and runners should always refuel with water during workouts.

4 -  “Go run your mile” 

My coach had us run a slow, steady mile as a warm up and cool down. Warm ups and cool downs are just as important to success on race day as is the actual race. Warm ups, including jogging, static and dynamic stretches, and strides, help reduce the risk of injury by giving our body a chance to loosen up before the race. Cool downs bring your body back to a resting state and quickens the recovery process after races.

3 -  “Build your foundation”

he key to success in running is having a good base of miles coming into the season. Although a break between cross country and track seasons is beneficial to our physical and mental recovery, it is vital that we not jump into a season without a sufficient running foundation. Things don’t happen overnight. Without a good base, runners are more prone to serious injury.

2 - “Relax” 

Having good forms allows runners to not only avoid injury, but to run more efficiently. Keep your head up, shoulders open, and don’t tighten up. Arms drive you forward so keep them pumping straight. Have a quick turnover, short stride, and stay on your toes. In simple terms, keep your body relaxed.


1 -  “Pace Yourself” 

Many eager runners put it all out on the line as soon as the gun goes off. The temptation to be first is great, especially in a field of quality runners. Experienced runners know that it is not about who wins the first 200 meters of a cross country race, but who can hold a steady pace and finish strong. Although we have to be careful about getting boxed in or getting caught at the back of the pack, smart runners pace themselves well, picking off runners and having enough energy to kick.

Because I run, I have had the opportunity of working with many amazing coaches.

Because we run, we will hear the voices of our coaches in our heads as we run, as we race, as and as we engage in other areas of our life.


Did you like Quincey's blog this week?  Leave her a comment below.