SMC Weekly Fitness: Runner Alex Garabedian

Long distance running is a game of endurance. That endurance is tested on a daily basis with lengthy runs and strenuous drills that push bodies to the limit. Few are inclined to accept this daunting challenge, but SMC cross country star Alex Garabedian is willing to go that extra mile in pursuit of success.

Garabedian, a resident of Westwood and third-year student at SMC, didn't grow up with any involvement in cross-country competition, but once Santa Monica's track and field program caught his eye, Garabedian had no choice but to run with it.

"I had never ran track before, but at SMC I decided to run cross-country and realized I was a natural," said Garabedian.

To complement his natural ability, Garabedian has implemented a workout specifically for long distance events. "It's all pure running and there aren't any drills," he said. "I usually start with a seven lap warm-up, and then I begin several repetitions of running 400, 150, and 100 meters.

Being responsible for training your body properly for competition also comes with the obligation of practicing healthy eating habits. "I follow my coach's diet," said Garabedian. Head coach Larry Silva's diet requires Garabedian to limit himself to only one sweet a week and no fatty foods. "It's hard to follow because sometimes you want to have more than one dessert a week," he said chuckling.

Always trying to test his own mettle, Garabedian doesn't restrict himself to only college-regulated races. He recently competed in this year's LA Marathon, impressively completing the 26 miles in just three hours and nineteen minutes.

Despite engaging in such a taxing event, Garabedian's pre-run preparation remained constant. "I didn't train differently," he said. "I just did my regular workouts with my cross-country and track coaches."

During the off-season, Garabedian commits himself to running thirteen miles a day with his teammates. "Cross country meets are usually four miles or more so you have to prepare with long distance runs."

A self-reliant individual, Garabedian has always looked for ways to motivate and improve himself independently. "I've always been more talented in sports than academically, so I find self-motivation to do better in both areas to get into a good school," he said.

With his high level of collegiate success, Garabedian has hopes of heading to a Division 1 school to take his cross-country career to the next level. His eyes are set on "schools such as UCLA, USC, or Berkeley."

Garabedian knows it will take hard work to reach his lofty goals, but he certainly has the legs to make the journey.