Tips From The Top: Austin Vancil

If there's anyone who knows what it takes to improve, and be consistent, it's Dakota Ridge's Austin Vancil.

He's the top returner in 5A this year, and he's endured a steady line of improvement each year. As a freshmen he finished 147th at state. As a sophomore he was 23rd, and as a junior he was third. 

That's quite a curve.

Vancil tallied similar leaps on the track, going from 10:29 in the 3,200 as a freshmen, to 9:39 as a sophomore, and on to 9:22 as a junior. And how about the 1,600? Well, 4:54 to 4:29 to 4:21. 

The numbers don't lie. 

And it's not just the consistency of improvement, he's proven to be consistent throughout the season. Last year he finished no worse then fourth in all six of his races in the state of Colorado. He ran three 3,200 this past track season, all between 9:22 and 9:29. Likewise, he ran between 4:21 and 4:22 four times, and all of his 1,600 races were under 4:28. 

That's consistency.

Clearly, Vancil has a recipe. Clearly, it works. And fortunately, he's shared some of his tips for this week's Tips From The Top - he even included a bonus tip...

Austin Vancil's Tips From The Top:

1. Keep a clear and positive mindset. Running is as much a mental sport as a physical one. Before any race, run or workout it's critical that you don't let the outside world get into your head or else you won't be mentally prepared for what's ahead. Before any race do whatever you can to keep calm while still focused; I've even gone as far as watching episodes of "The Office" and "Friends" to keep my adrenaline levels low and my mind clear. 

2. Trust your coach. Unless there is clear evidence that your coach has no idea what they are doing, trust them. They have spent countless hours creating training plans for your season and if you stray off of it too much it could ruin you.  

3. Live your life. Coaches probably won't like this one (I know mine doesn't) but you gotta live your life. If you spend every waking moment sucked into the running world you're gonna go crazy. So have fun, you're a kid and the next time you have this much free time you'll be retired and your joints won't work properly. So go adventure and experience the world away from running. 

Bonus: Grow an Afro. Trust me, it helps on and off the track