Should Indoor Track Runners Really be Training Outside?

By Maggie Veliotis

Having an indoor track would be ideal, but at least there is an outdoor track at Stoughton High School. 

According to the sprints Coach, Michael Baugh, “Unfortunately, we don’t have field houses. I feel like every high school should have their own field house, including this school. It would make everything faster and also Massachusetts would be faster in sprints and in long sprint races.” An indoor track would help train indoor runners, but training outdoors also has its benefits.

Senior captain Vandy Bontemps, sprinter, thinks, “A great thing about outside is that we get to use the track, …. so we can actually use the lanes.”  

Freshman Matthew Fishman, distance, enjoys running outside, “I like running outside. Although the weather is unpredictable and rough, it is nice to have fresh air when you are running.”

Another positive thing about running outdoors, according to senior captain Hannah Morgan, distance runner , is “... there would be more room for everyone to practice for people; long distance people would have more room to do what’s more comfortable for them.” This  is part of the reason not all the crews practice inside.

There are some negatives of running outside. Morgan explained, “It’s very cold outside, so that would like tighten up the muscles when you run. Or like kids can get sick and that could affect who runs on varsity.”

According to Bontemps, “I know that people run better when it’s warmer out, so when it’s cold, you don’t run as well as you could.” The cold is a major factor involved in not running as fast.

Former winter track runner (1983-1985), Chris Veliotis said, “The outdoors slowed us down it’s hard to run on ice and snow as supposed to running on dry.” Some of the weather is dangerous and can cause injuries.

Since new runners to the program have only experienced running outdoors, there are some problems according to Morgan. She said, “I think that we should have gotten used to the conditions via a different facility or whatever because a lot kids especially new to the sport didn’t know how the breathing is going to be like.” So training indoors before the meet would be ideal.

Also, the outdoor track is a different length than the indoor, according to Morgan, “And also it’s like different because the laps of the track are different because outside you’ll like think to yourself ‘oh, this is when I’m going to kick it in or whatever,’ but when you’re on the inside track you have to like think about when to kick it in.” When having to sprint that last part of it, it’s important to know where you should start, so you do not burn out before it is over.

Tips for dealing with the harsh outdoor weather according to Bontemps is, “Bring all the clothes necessary for outdoors and indoors.” Another tip is to just tough it out. Morgan said, “It’s hard like mentally because you’re saying ‘it’s cold, it’s cold’, but you have to like get through it if you want to be the best you can.”

Positives of being indoors Baugh explained, “You’re warm; it’s inside. There’s no wind. The team is closer, not so spread out.” Being inside blocks out the harsh weather from outside.

According to Coach Baugh, “Massachusetts is not known for sprinters… One of the reasons why is because we don’t have indoor facilities for people to train. Whatever indoor facilities we do have, they’re usually at colleges or something like that, that are non-accessible.” If Massachusetts had indoor facilities, the state would likely produce more state-qualifying runners.

But being indoors also has its negatives according to Fishman, “Running indoors is a dry and cramped activity. There are so many people and the air is so dry it makes it hard to breathe.” The air at Reggie, where the varsity meets are held, is especially dry and runners who have not experienced that will feel the effects.

Another negative factor of running indoors is the cost and time management. Morgan said it would be, “... more expensive and would take a lot of time to not get conflictions with our schedules because we would have to like find a time where everyone can actually meet rather just the convenience of it just being there outside.”

Regarding tips for running indoors, Baugh said, “You have to hydrate yourself first. It’s ok to stick your head out the window to kind of get some air.” Fresh air definitely helps.

To get yourself in race mode Veliotis explained, “Run as hard as you can…, but there are tactics to it. You have to know who you’re running against; it’s a big race and know how they run. I feel like the biggest thing is psyching your opponent not so much before the race, but during the race. If the person is a really fast runner, stick with [him/her] as long as you can, push them to run harder than they normally would… give it everything from the get go.” Pushing yourself is a major key to success.

Fishman brings up a great point,“All in all, if someone could replicate the atmosphere of outdoors running with the comfortable temperatures of indoor running, the whole track game would change in a great way.” Practicing outdoors may have negative factors, mainly the weather as well as lack of preparation for indoor meets, but at least it is still a track and it allow for SHS runners to practice.

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