What is a “day in the life” like for two student-athletes while their sports are in season? Women’s cross country runner Anna Corrigan (Engr ’12) and football defensive tackle Will Hill (Col ’13) documented their daily routines with digital cameras. “When I’m going about it, it’s just the daily grind,” says Hill, “but then I look back and think, ‘Man, I did all that?’” Here’s how Anna and Will see a typical day.
Anna Corrigan begins her day with an 8 a.m. swim—a low-impact endurance-building exercise—at the Aquatic Fitness Center.
A systems engineering student, Corrigan has mastered the art of multitasking—digging into a textbook while eating her lunch.
Corrigan hits the classroom with professor Richard Miksad. Her academic and athletic goals include a graduate degree in water systems engineering, and one day, running a marathon.
Corrigan relies on her bike to meet the demands of her schedule. She packs her gear—shoes, socks, books, Gatorade—hops on her bike, and pedals from one stop to the next.
In a 10k race—that’s 6.2 miles—she aims to run a steady 5:25-mile pace. “There’s something freeing about running fast. You don’t get to run like that every day, but when you do, it’s one of the best feelings in the world.”
After long runs (13 miles or so) and intense races, an ice bath helps flush lactic acid—which causes soreness and inflammation in muscles—to soothe Corrigan’s feet and legs.
A protein shake is standard fare after a post-practice weight-lifting workout. “Most protein shakes taste awful,” she says, “but this one is like delicious, protein-fortified chocolate milk.”
Corrigan sits down to dinner with friends and teammates in the athletics dining hall. On her tray: salad, asparagus, sweet potato, grilled chicken, milk and Gatorade.
At 8 p.m., Corrigan dons compression socks (they help with blood flow and muscle recovery after lengthy runs) and wades knee-deep into homework.
Will Hill’s day begins at 5 a.m. He eats a quick breakfast before heading over to the McCue Center for a mandatory all-team ankle taping.
Team meetings begin at 6:25 a.m. on the dot and last for an hour and a half; practice begins at 8. The locker room sign, says Hill, “speaks volumes of the character of our team.”
After practice, Hill heads to O-Hill dining hall to chow down with teammates before class. A typical lunch: two or three slices of pizza, a chicken sandwich and fries, Gatorade and water.
Hill returns to McCue in the afternoon to review game and practice film. He and teammates watch together and discuss what works, what doesn’t, and how they can improve.
Hill typically eats four meals a day—usually in the dining halls—but sometimes he has to eat on the go. His estimated daily caloric intake? Nearly 4,000 calories.
The night before a game, Hill packs his game bag. It holds his equipment and, usually, his Bible. He eschews music (he doesn’t own an iPod) and reads to keep his mind “clear and focused on the assignment of the game.”
Hill prepares a dinner of spaghetti, sweet potatoes and corn for himself and his housemates. He prefers cooking at home to eating elsewhere. “Sometimes we don’t have enough, though—we’re all on the team and, well, we eat a lot.”
Around 8 p.m., Hill kicks off his size-14 Nikes and sits down to study. He spends an estimated five hours a day on football and six on coursework, and catches only six hours of sleep a night.
A third-year biology major, Hill reads up on animal physiology. “Biology has always been a passion of mine,” he says. He plans either to go to med school or go into kinesiology when his time playing football comes to an end.