Cross county co-captain becomes the fastest runner on his team through his diligence and post-run recovery routine

October 20, 2022 — by George Hu and Kevin Yang
Photo by Ian Tippetts
Senior Wasil Khan picks up the pace to stay ahead of his competitors during the 2022 Lowell Invitational on Sept. 10.
Senior Wasil Khan relishes running and socializing with his teammates and hopes to achieve personal record times at SCVAL league finals and CCS.

This fall, while doing runs as long as 12 miles through the streets and hidden paths of Saratoga, cross country co-captain Wasil Khan relished the opportunity to socialize with good friends like junior Steven Sun and sophomore Pranav Rajan. The comradery made the sometimes painful runs more manageable.

“Between hard interval workouts, my teammates would give me encouraging motivation, telling me that I was capable of pushing through the last stretch of the workout while maintaining a fast pace,” Khan said.

This fall, Khan has posted the fastest times on the team. However, he was still disappointed with his performances in his early and midseason races due to his lack of improvement.

“I trained frequently over the summer and it is my last year, so I expected to run much faster times and place much higher in races,” Khan said.

For the 5,000-meter run, he set a personal record, running the distance in 17:16, 15 seconds faster than his previous best. However, for the hilly 2.95-mile Crystal Springs course, his times this year slightly regressed from last year, with his time of 17:11 being a one-second decrease.

He thinks his time results from not running fast enough at the start along with improper pacing during the race. He noticed that he unintentionally slows down his pace during the middle sections of his race, giving him excess energy for the final stretch of the race.

Regardless of the minimal improvement in his times, Khan continues to improve in different ways. In previous seasons, Khan wrongly expected monumental time improvements from year to year. He quickly realized that as he got faster, it was exponentially more difficult to see improvement.

Khan understands that in order to achieve bigger time improvements, he has to be diligent during every training session.

“During workouts, it is extremely important to work hard, to not make excuses and to not skip part of the run,” Khan said. “Many athletes have lots of natural talent, but it is impossible to find success in running without a strong work ethic.”

After practice, Khan occasionally experiences some muscle soreness, which can range from muscles such as the hamstring, thigh, calf and shin. As a result, he makes it a priority to stretch and put ice on the sore muscles immediately after practice.

With the season coming to a close, the only races left are the SCVAL league finals on Nov. 1 and CCS on Nov. 12. Not only does he want himself to succeed at those big races, he also wants all of his teammates to run an exceptional race.

For the SCVAL finals race, I hope that our team places in the top six,” Khan said. “The CCS and SCVAL races are both run at the hilly Crystal Springs course, where I have struggled the most this year. I hope that I can fix my strategy mistakes from previous races and run a huge personal best.”

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