Racing into spring training

Runners training

Photo by and used with permission of Jeremy Kauffman

Members of the girls distance track team train on the roads in icy conditions. Despite changing temperatures and slippery roads, these runners kept up their mileage with the hope that their hard work will pay off in the spring.

Lindsey Bitzer, Bear Facts Contributor

The distance running teams dodged icy roads and kept warm in the below zero temperatures this past winter to train towards the sunshine of spring.

This winter averaged record breaking temperatures under 30 degrees. As a result, some runners faced a difficult time keeping up their motivation, said Jillian Michels, freshman runner, who said she didn’t want to run outside sometimes because of the cold temperatures. 

“I try to keep motivated because I want to push myself to become better and I have a team that I owe it to to work hard,” Michels said.

This motivation pays off, according to Jeremy Kauffman, head girls track coach, who says that powering through the first practices and competition helps runners “feel the magic of high school athletics.”

But running magic does not arise from practice alone, but from the friendships made on and off the track.

“My teammates motivate me a lot. [Running is] very social and it’s a lot easier to run with my friends who have a similar pace than by myself,” Hayley Burk, senior runner, said.

Friends become a key asset to help motivate runners whether it’s chatting side by side in a long run or having fun racing to the end of the trail, Drew Morton, freshman runner, said. The more motivated he is, the more effort he says he will likely put into training. 

“Since I started running again after a small break in the early winter season, I’m trying to build my stamina,” Morton said. “Right now, I don’t feel amazing after a run, but once I get in shape I usually feel fine and rewarded after a run.”

The runners are goal-oriented people who know what they have to do to keep up their training, said JB Hanson, boys distance coach. Despite changing temperatures, runners kept up their mileage, by doing their best and finding ways.

 Kevin Loftus, junior runner, said that running on his treadmill when the weather was below zero was one way he kept up his training. 

“I think I speak for most distance runners when I say that my goals keep me going. I know that if I want to reach higher mileage and get PRs (personal records) each season, I have to train year round,” Loftus said.

But  just because these athletes have goals in mind, does not mean the weather will show them mercy. Burk noted that stretching a lot more during the winter helped to ensure that she did not get injured because the frigid conditions can make runners’ muscles extremely tight.

As the sun starts to shine more, many runners such as Michels are excited for the upcoming days of training in the spring and summer.

“Hearing the songs of the birds and seeing the children play outside are just some of the many reasons why I look forward to spring training,” Michels said.