Newfound motivation leads to success for sophomore Tyler Re

Tyler+Re+running+at+the+Phoenix+Invitational+Sept.+9+at+the+University+of+Wisconsin-Green+Bay.+%28Photo+courtesy+of+Marquette+Athletics.%29

Tyler Re running at the Phoenix Invitational Sept. 9 at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

From the tough adjustment to college life to being a late addition to the team, sophomore Tyler Re has faced a few extra hurdles before he could get into the swing of things with the Marquette cross country team.

I missed a lot of training and the college adjustment was also pretty tough,” Re said. “I went through a lot of stretches of just being out of routine and feeling really bad.”

Cross country head coach Sean Birren said having a routine is everything for a runner.

“It’s a mindset thing you have to build,” Birren said. “To be able to carry that just further down the road like it’s just an experience.” 

Last year, Re was able to race just twice with one being the 8K in the Big East Championship. 

“It was also my first 8K. So I was sort of trying to figure out like what my approach would be compared to running in high school,” Re said.

A new challenge was brought on Re in the spring during the track and field season.

“He dealt with some iron deficiencies and stuff like that too at some stages,” Birren said. “Having to take a break here and there that you didn’t realize.”

Though he faced struggles, Re said he looked to create something better out of that track season.

“I was pretty disappointed with my track season last year to be honest, so I wanted to sort of try and make some pretty significant improvements,” Re said. “I ran significantly more volume than I have in the past, I did 90-mile weeks basically all summer.”

Birren cited Re’s attitude as an important example for the rest of the team to follow.

“Most important thing that the other athletes see, and the first years for sure, is the desire to be good and to make the program better,” Birren said. “We encourage getting plugged in and looking at the leaders on the team, emulating that, and he’s been a great example of that.”

Birren said there is a lot of extra work that has to be done outside of practice when it comes to cross country such as morning runs to shake out the lactic acid in your muscles, studying the race course, keeping up with school assignments and even remembering to eat late at night.

All of which he said Re does.

“He’s one of the first kids down the steps, if not the first kid all the time,” Birren said. “It’s that work ethic that truly makes Re special and (has) set him up for an incredibly successful season so far.”

Re surpassed personal records in back-to-backs in the 8K at the National Catholic Invite and the Joe Piane Invite at Notre Dame. His personal record currently sits at 25:47.8. He’s run under 26 minutes three times this season.

As the end of the season approaches, Birren said race performance depends more upon habits outside of training than pushing the pace day in and day out.

“This time of year you spread things out over a bigger window of time, so just what do you do with that extra time that you have on your hands,” Birren said. “We spread the workouts out over a 10-day period instead of a week long period.”

Paradoxically, Re said that the intense work ethic of the summer and early season can become a bit of a downfall for him.

“In the past, I’ve sort of struggled sometimes near the end of seasons, just sort of burning it out,” Re said. “So there’s always that thought in the back of my head like I hope I don’t feel super tired this race just because like this is the one I care about the most.”

Knowing when to tone down training is one of the ways Birren will try to set Re up for success.

“Over the next few weeks, the biggest thing for me as a coach is just to convince him that there’s a time and a place to have a little bit of backing off from intensity,” Birren said. 

With the Big East Championship two weeks away, Re said he is looking to make a name for himself on a bigger stage.

“I’m really focused on just trying to make sure that I’m well rested and sharp,” Re said. “This time around I’m just trying to make sure that I’m fresh by the time I get to the line at conference.”

This story was written by John Gunville. He can be reached at j[email protected] and on Twitter @GunvilleJohn.