The world of female athletes: Skylar Smith.
On track for success.
What’s better than doing well and being successful at your degree? Being successful and running for the Cougars Track and Field Team! Skylar Smith is a third-year student at the University of Regina who has been running for the Cougars all three years of her academic career. The events that she specializes in are sprints and hurdles, which is an impressive combination. On top of all of her training and competing she has been working hard in her degree as a pre-pharmaceutical student.
This love for track and field has been with Skylar for many years. She has been competing since she was in elementary school! Within this span of time she has been able to accomplish many things. The two that she is the proudest of is her bronze medal win in the 400m hurdles event at the 2018 Junior Nationals that were held in Ottawa, Ontario. In 2019 Skylar also brought home a Canada West bronze medal from the 4×400m relay race. We are all on the edge of our seats waiting to see what she will bring home next.
This is not something that came easily and Skylar works remarkably hard to ensure that she is at peak performance for competitions. Five days a week she is training at the track on top of doing lifting sessions four days a week. Three to four of her days are spent doing running workouts and the extra day is spent working on the more technical aspect of the sport through various drills and concentrating on form. The dedication does not stop after she walks away from the track. This is a 24/7 commitment that she has chosen to make. Throughout her weeks she has to be very conscious of what she is putting into her body, how she is spending her time and how she can continue to improve her physical and mental health. To ensure top performance she needs to ensure that she is eating clean, nourishing food, as well as ensuring it is not too heavy before practices and competitions. Water, water and more water is key to be a successful athlete as far as Skylar is concerned. Staying hydrated is important as it helps speed up the recovery time between training sessions and helps ensure that your muscles will be ready to go for the next task. It is also extremely important to stay active during the day outside of practice. This involves more than just being physically active, it also involves being mentally active as well. You definitely will not be motivated to do anything if you lay around aimlessly doing nothing all day. By staying busy and ensuring that she are alert and productive helps her feel ready to go when she hits the track.
There is more to her dedication then just the things she is actively doing to ensure success. There are also activities that she has refrained from doing to allow herself more time to focus on her sport. As her training schedule is so demanding she has chosen not to work as she knows that she would not be able to adequately dedicate enough time to a workplace and not be able to participate in all the training she needs to do in order to keep competing at her current level. She also has to manage her course load very strategically to allow herself enough time to train while making sure she does not neglect her classes.To accomplish this she has opted to take a lighter workload and stretch out the length of her degree so she can have enough time to do both at peak performance. It is important to put your all into everything you do but not at the expense of your happiness.
Skylar has recognized how fortunate she is that she has not been met with any obvious bias within her sport. Her coaches have always been very encouraging and inclusive and show encouragement toward all the athletes equally. Even though she has not been met with hardships she is aware that others may not be as fortunate as herself. For those athletes she wants to share this bit of advice with them. Continue working hard, as hard work always pays off. If people treat you differently because you are a female, prove them wrong. Never do things for people who demean you, do things for you and for the team you value. Run/play hard for yourself and for your team and nobody else. If your path looks different than those around you do not stress as that is expected, you will reach your goals in your own time!
It is hard work being an athlete in the spotlight of so many people as the pressure of various expectations can be a lot to manage. Skylar Smith demonstrates with grace and modesty how one can go about accomplishing this feat without compromising who they are in the process. Keep one foot in front of the other and keep your eyes on the prize. It will all be worth it in the end.