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Inside the head: Byom sets the bar high

February 18, 2011

“The Courier” recently spoke with, senior high jumper, Nick Byom to discuss how he stays motivated, what he enjoys most about his sport as well as what his plans are once he graduates.

Donnelly: What is your sport, what event/position do you do/play in it?

Byom: My sport is track and field and I participate in the high jump. I have been exclusively high jumping for my entire college career but have recently started to do some triple jumping as well.

Donnelly: How long have you been participating in track?

Byom: I have been doing track and field ever since the 7th grade and have done it every year since then.

Donnelly: What is your favorite thing about track?

Byom: I love the feeling of completely improving my abilities in almost every aspect. Although I only high jump, speed training and strength training are extremely important and the strength, speed, balance, and coordination that I have developed are at levels that I never really imagined I could be at when I was growing up. High jumping in particular is exhilarating. The feeling of getting that great jump when everything comes together and you clear a height that you never have is one of the best feelings imaginable.

Donnelly: How much do you train in season/out of season?

Byom: In the off-season I mainly train five days per week with an emphasis on strength training and developing stamina and a good base of running work in order to be able to handle longer, more strenuous workouts during the season. Almost no jumping workouts are done until later in November and the amount of jumping is very minimal. During the season, I am training six days a week and competing one day a week. A day completely off is rare and maybe happens once a month. Jump workouts are usually done twice a week and plyometic exercises are used in every practice in order to prepare our bodies for jumping and the stresses put on our joints during competition.

Donnelly: What gets you motivated before competing?

Byom: The chance to perform at my best and the chance to improve is motivation enough to get excited about competing. High jumping is fun in itself and only being able to jump once a week when the body is fresh and fine-tuned makes competition something to look forward to every week.

Donnelly: Are there things you do to train outside of just running?

Byom: One of the most important things for me this year has been recovery and maintenance of my body, as it is easy to break the body down too far when trying to train at a high level of intensity. Regular warm and cold baths are taken after every practice for quicker recovery. Nightly static stretching helps to maintain flexibility and keep the muscles from becoming tight and at risk for injury. In addition, consistent sleep patterns have helped greatly. Getting to bed and waking up at the same times almost every day develops a routine that the body can adjust to, which makes performing at my best much easier on a daily basis.

Donnelly: What are your personal goals/have you achieved them?

Byom: My personal goals include jumping seven feet and above this year, and also winning the conference and national championship. Right now the focus is on the indoor conference and national championships. I want to jump over seven feet, which would break the indoor school record. I have not yet achieved my goals. So far this year, I have jumped 6’ 10 3/4’’, which is my personal best. Hopefully this is just a stepping stone to an even higher performance in the near future.

Donnelly: Do you have any future plans to continue after college?

Byom: Continuing track and field after college is somewhat difficult. In order to have reason to compete after college, I would have to jump 7’ 2.5’’ or higher. This would be an amazing accomplishment and I would most definitely not be opposed to that type of opportunity. However, as for now I will be focusing on more short term goals.

BY JACK DONNELLY
Contributing Writer

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