Cross country runner Chiara Del Piccolo ’14 finished the 2011 season with the Div. III NCAA Cross Country Championship title and a 6-kilometer time of 20:52.08. But Del Piccolo didn’t begin the season as the number-one Eph. In fact, over the last year she’s improved from 55th in the nation to number one.
Del Piccolo says she doesn’t attribute her success to “any one thing” but tries to “do a lot of little things, like lifting and general strength exercises in addition to running.” She also has a few non-traditional training methods that no doubt had an impact on her speedy rise to the top, including:
- Massaging her leg muscles with a PVC pipe;
- Staying relaxed before races by relying on routines, including doing organic chemistry problem sets, which, she says, are “particularly useful for staying focused”;
- Training with the men’s cross country team once per week;
- Maintaining a competitive edge as a yearround, three-sport athlete (indoor and outdoor track & field). In her first indoor track appearance of the season, at Smith College in December, she recorded a time of 16:57.98—second fastest ever for Williams—automatically qualifying her for the NCAA Div. III Championships.