Track runners cross-train to prepare for their season

Isabella Alioto

Though the girls’ varsity track team is months away from competing, the athletes on the team are using the fall to prepare for their season. Every day, just 20 minutes after the last bell of the day rings, several of Redwood’s sprinters gather at the track with the cross country team to join their practice.

In hopes of improving their endurance and staying in shape year-round, nearly ten of approximately 40 sprinters from the track team practice with the cross country team daily. The majority of these girls didn’t previously play a fall sport, and decided this year to stay active year-round so they will be prepared for the spring.

“It’s been really interesting because we’re all sprinters, not just track athletes,” said junior Shauna Ewry.

Since track runners are used to sprinting short distances as opposed to jogging long ones, the group often runs with the JV cross country runners because the Varsity runners’ workouts generally require endurance that track athletes do not have. Also, the sprinters occasionally run separately at a pace more sustainable for them.

Girls cross country ran at Tennessee Valley on Sept 4, 2015

“We have to start somewhere because a lot of us aren’t good endurance-wise––we are good at going fast in a short time,” said senior Audrey Smith.

Joining the cross country team hasn’t been solely about improving the sprinter’s endurance. After practices, the track runners generally do drills specific to sprinters without the rest of the cross country team.

The team expects the results of this upcoming track season will be even better than last year. Smith said she hopes the work she does this fall will pay off when she and a few other girls race the 400 meter race in the spring.

“Running cross country will help my endurance a lot in [the 400 meter] race because the 400 saps your energy,” Smith said. “Having the endurance for that race is really helpful.”

Ewry also believes that running cross country will help improve her time in the 400 meter race.

“Although [cross country’s] different, it’s really helping some of our longer sprints,” said Ewry, who already noticed improvements in her endurance while running the 400 last week.

Additionally, Smith hopes that running with the cross country team this fall will help prevent shin splints and other injuries that can occur from jumping into a season unprepared. She also believes that this will bond the team before the start of the track season.

After practicing with the cross country team this fall, the girls will participate in a track program with their coaches throughout the winter.