Not many sports demand its athletes to switch their playing field season to season, but the Keene State College Track and Field athletes have found the transition something they’ve grown accustomed to.
Fall, winter, or spring, Track and Field athletes have a high demand during the year for when their performances as a KSC athlete are required. The transition period from outdoor season to indoor season and then back to outdoor season isn’t a common trend in most sports.
Whether you’re a coach, a thrower, a distance runner, a sprinter, or even a jumper, the way the events are done for each athlete change dramatically when switching indoor with outdoor track.
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KSC Men’s and Women’s Track and Field Coach, Peter Thomas, was a former runner for the Owls in the Cross Country competition. Now he’s taken his skills to the competitive level of Division III but this time as coach and a successful one at that, as he continues his twenty-eighth season under the helm.
Being a former runner, Coach Thomas has experienced the indoor and outdoor transition as both a player and a coach.
“Cross country was my preferred season,” said Coach Thomas. “Indoors was nearly nonexistent, and outdoor I ran the 3 mile (now it is the 5k or 3.1 miles).”
Maggie Fitter, a junior who runs the mile, the 800, and the DMR (distance medley relay) for the Keene State women’s Track and Field said a lot about how it affects not only her, but the other athletes around her.
“The change from indoor to outdoor doesn’t affect us very much,” Fitter said. “I think we definitely perform better in outdoor because we have the whole indoor season of training under our belts.”
Fitter is part of the distance team on the women’s Track and Field team and reassured that there were many differences between running indoor and outdoor races.
“We run anywhere from four to 25 laps in a race and the outdoor track is more beneficial because there aren’t as many turns and they aren’t too tight,” Fitter said. “However, if the weather is bad or windy, it’s hard to run fast whereas in indoor the weather is never a factor.”
Coach Thomas had his own input on the differences between indoor and outdoor as well with some similarities to what Fitter was saying.
“Outdoors can be fast because of the large tracks,” Coach Thomas added. “Running fewer turns is quicker. The weather can be a negative if it is bad. Rainy and windy is the worst, because sprinters like the warm weather. Distance kids appreciate the cooler weather.”
Training is an extremely important factor when judging by what season it is in the year for each athlete. It doesn’t affect much of how they do their business. It just changes exactly what they do, according to both Fitter and Coach Thomas.
“Training can be much better as the cold does not hinder us as it does in winter,” Coach Thomas said. “We also get the trails back to run on which help prevent injuries (softer surface).”
Fitter added the athlete’s perspective on how much training can transition along with the transition of the seasons.
“During outdoor we are able to get better training and more motivation when the weather’s nice,” Fitter said. “With the warmer weather we’re able to use the high school tracks and get back on the trails so we get better workouts in. Like I said earlier, as far as races, outdoor races are faster but if we get bad weather it’s hard to run fast.”
Transitioning from outdoor, to indoor, and back to outdoor is not only a physical game but a mental one as well according to Head Throwing Coach, Mike Napolitano.
“I think this year we kind of had to push a little harder so people understand that every meet counts,” Coach Napolitano said. “It’s more of you having to push your athlete more mentally then physically at times.”
Being a thrower or jumper in the sport of Track and Field, the training is much more different than that of a runner, but the KSC Track and Field teams continue to be successful throughout the transition of seasons.
As the spring season continues to approach, Track and Field fans can be reassured that their team will be ready and stay consistent season to season.
Dalton Charest can be contacted at email@example.com