Occidental athletes on rest and recovery

Courtesy of Meimei Bayman

Occidental athletes follow a rigorous schedule to perform their best. Often, they push their bodies with training that challenges the strongest of them. The antidote is rest and recovery. For some, it’s a simple team breakfast in the MP; for others, it’s listening to music and stretching.

Brandon Kim (first year), a member of the swim team said his team has 6 a.m. practices every day.

“We have our [second practice of the day] and then lift twice a week Tuesday and Thursday nights,” Kim said.

According to Kim, the schedule can be difficult sometimes.

“If I’m up late working on a paper, it gets really hard to get up in the morning, but the fact that I get to do it with such a great team makes it worth it,” Kim said.

According to Kim, the practices have benefitted him in creating strong relationships with his teammates.

“We all hang out and study together,” Kim said. “It’s really nice to have a group of people that push you to do your best every day while also being cool people to chill with.”

Kim said that after every morning practice, the team goes to the Marketplace and grab breakfast together.

Cross-country athlete Meimei Bayman (junior), said the team practices seven days a week.

“It’s different than a lot of sports, because everybody runs different amounts of miles every week,” Bayman said. “I run 60 miles a week but some people on my team run from 30 to 60 miles.”

According to Bayman, the practice schedule allows for three days of recovery between hard workouts.

“If we have a workout on Tuesday, we have Wednesday, Thursday [and] Friday to recover,” Bayman said. “And then we have another workout on Saturday.”

Bayman said after a hard workout, she knows she won’t be able to complete her homework.

“I definitely have a hard time doing my homework because I’m so tired,” Bayman said. “I think the high intensity [workouts have you] be really mentally focused… so it’s hard after practice to mentally focus again while you’re also super physically tired.”

Bayman said she likes the schedule because it helps her with her time management.

“If I didn’t have sports, I feel like I would procrastinate more,” Bayman said. “I have two hours of practice, so I have to get my homework done before. That really keeps me accountable of doing my work.”

According to Bayman, being able to run every day is also a nice mental reset. Bayman said it’s nice to just be present in the moment with her teammates.

“Usually running is like an escape from all the stress that I have,” Bayman said. “Running gives me endorphins and energy to continue to do my schoolwork or other things that I have to do.”

Cross country team practicing at the Jack Kemp Stadium at Occidental College in Los Angeles, CA. Nov. 11, 2023. Amalia Rimmon/The Occidental

Emma Wilderman (first year), a member of the water polo team, said that it can sometimes be difficult to juggle practices and academics.

“We lift for one hour on Monday, Thursday, Friday and have practice in the pool for two hours on Monday and one hour Tuesday [and] Thursday,” Wilderman said.

According to Wilderman, although practices can be tiring, having a team helps her endure them.

“Being on a team means I [have] a core friend group coming into school,” Wilderman said. “If I ever want to hang with or talk to people, they are always there.”

When it comes to recovery, Wilderman said she makes sure to eat, hydrate and stretch.

“I go by the trainers to get ice,” Wilderman said. “I always make sure to get some food […] I try to relax and stretch too.”

According to Kim, he usually stretches while listening to music and then takes a nap to recover.

Bayman said she uses the anti-gravity treadmill and compression pants to physically recover. To mentally recover, she said eating with her teammates is really nice.

“I feel like everybody’s a baseline tired so sometimes we just eat in silence,” Bayman said. “If I were to sit with my other friends outside of the team after a really hard workout, I probably would not be very sociable because I’m tired.”

According to Bayman, it is important to recognize that part of rest and recovery is not just physical and mental, but also social.

“That might mean just staying in bed on a Saturday night or doing something really chill compared to your non-athletic friends, which can be hard,” Bayman said. “I think that’s part of the learning process… if you want to be a dedicated athlete to your sport, you have to sacrifice [your social life.]”

Bayman said that head cross-country and track coach, Rob Bartlett, emphasizes getting enough fuel in their body after a workout or a race.

“Doing a hard workout doesn’t make you fast,” Bayman said. “It’s what you do in the next 22 hours.”

Contact Reyan Nguy at Nguy@oxy.edu



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