For most Keene State College runners, the end of the cross country season only signals the beginning of another season— indoor track. The men’s and women’s teams had their first meet Saturday, December 7.
At a point when most athletes could probably use a break, KSC runners embrace the opportunity to maintain their conditioning.
“It gets you in shape, it helps with endurance,” freshman runner Lindsey Terry said. “I know past runners who just did track, and then they try cross country and end up doing really well, and it goes the same way the other way, you never know if you have a hidden talent in track.”
Track and cross country coach Peter Thomas agreed with Terry’s assessment.
“It’s just continuous, you get better by running, by the consistency of training,” Thomas said. “The more you train, the better you are.”
Thomas does not explicitly require his runners to participate in indoor track, but he makes it clear that it’s a smart move if they want to improve.
“If they’re going to get better they continue with indoor track,” Thomas said. “The season is mostly mandatory.” That doesn’t mean he has to put much pressure on his runners—most seem to want to run year-round anyway. When three freshmen were asked about indoor track, all three said they came to KSC expecting to participate in the indoor season and indicated they will be running indoor all four years at the school.
“I like track, I did it in high school so I always just assumed I’d do it here as well,” freshman Katelyn Terry said.
Aside from keeping everyone in shape, indoor track can also strengthen team chemistry.
“I think as the year progresses, we just bond more,” freshman Carli Davis said. “In the beginning of the season there were ten freshmen for the girls team and all the freshmen were always together and were shy, but as the season goes on we’re all coming out of our shells and now that indoor is starting we’re all really close.”
Lindsey Terry said team chemistry makes it easier to run year-round.
“The team’s so close and we’re all really supportive of one another,” Lindsey said. “It keeps you encouraged and motivated to come everyday.”
Sometimes athletes get used to the routine of practice and it helps them with their schedule. Katelyn Terry said running actually motivates her to do school work.
“When I’m running I make sure I get my homework done,” Terry said. “It’s weird, it helps me with my time management.”
Aside from the weather, there are many differences between indoor track and outdoor track, which takes place in the spring.
“Some of the races are shorter, overall there are more connecting distances,” Thomas explained. “[Indoor] is a little more fun, at least in my perspective. There’s also extra relays.”
Thomas rearranges how each athlete trains in the winter to better prepare them for the indoor distances. The team is hoping to build off of a successful cross country season that saw both the KSC men and women win the Little Eastern Conference meet.
Thomas acknowledged that winning the LEC indoor meet, which takes place February 15, is a big goal for both teams this season, despite the fact that the KSC indoor women have fallen short of that goal in recent years. So far, the coach has been encouraged with what he has seen.
“Everything looks really promising, both teams had strong cross country seasons and hopefully it will continue with better indoor seasons,” coach Thomas said.
Zach Winn can be contacted at email@example.com