Run fast, be recruited, and get that college running scholarship!
Are you a fast high school runner? I mean are you fast enough to win a race? Fast enough so other people talk about you coming to the meet? So fast that competitors think about you when they are running? It's time to turn that speed into a college running scholarship. Learn how to be recruited right here.
First of all. Don't think that you can get a college scholarship if you are a senior and on JV. Reality can sting sometimes, so be honest with yourself. Besides, if you really want to run, you can find a college to run at. That college just won't pay your tuition.
Now if you are fast. Fast enough to win some races, dominate your conference, qualify for state, or place at state, continue reading. If you are a late bloomer, this article also pertains to you. Most runners who were great as a frosh, sophomore, or junior will get recruited without any effort.
If your breakout year happens your senior year, it might be harder to get discovered. There are websites out there where you can promote yourself to get noticed. Search the net for sites where you create a profile of yourself. Coaches look at these and then contact you. I can't recommend any one over another. Your best bet is to do some research before you pay any money to a recruiting webpage.
The first indicator of if you could get a scholarship is not your running ability, but your grades. Make sure you have a solid score on the SAT, or ACT, and you have a decent (2.5 or higher G.P.A.) If you are a fantastic runner, but a poor student, some colleges can work around your poor academic performance.
If you have solid grades, start promoting yourself. Don't wait for universities to contact you. Find the coaches names and email them. List your personal records for track and or cross country. Talk about the amount of running you do in the off season. Be honest. If you don't run that much in the off season, some coaches look at that as a positive. That means you might have more potential than another runner with the same personal records.
Division one scholarships are hard to come by. The times for the men are tough because there are less scholarships for the men than the women. Here are some times that would probably get a male distance runner a scholarship for a Division 1 school, followed by times for a Division 2 scholarship. There are no scholarships in Division 3.
Take these times with a grain of salt. Things change. You may run faster or slower than these times, and may or may not get a scholarship. These are here to give you an idea of what coaches are looking for when deciding to hand over money for your education.
Once again, this is just something to shoot for. Time requirements change, and each university is looking for something different. You might not be at these times, but you may find a coach who sees your potential. One thing is clear. You need to keep working on improving. Also, you better like to run. The level of intensity in college is much higher than High School Athletics. Don't chase the money. Keep running because you like to run.
If you are really serious about improving, I highly recommend Coach Matt Thull for his individualized training plans and off season coaching. Having a coach who designs workouts specifically for you and your running events can help you improve your times immensely.
Remember, you must be your number one fan. Promote yourself. Make some contacts. Make sure you are working hard at school, and most importantly, keep running.
David Tiefenthaler is the founder and main contributor for Tips4Running.com. In addition to running, he's an author, and a teacher.