Beyond the track: what it takes to be a Wilson runner

Anna Dueholm

Track is a sport where people just run around a track, right? Not really. There is much more to the sport than meets the eye. What most people don’t see is all of the hard work that goes on behind the scenes. The realities of Wilson’s track and field team include rigorous weightlifting and swimming, as well as the copious amount of running others would expect.

Wilson track practices five days a week. The team warms up with either a mile run around the Wilson track, or a two-kilometer loop around Fort Reno and Deal. Next, they complete drills on the track before breaking into smaller workout groups based on distances and racing times. Lastly, the team completes a 15-to-20-minute cooldown and finishes with some stretching.

On some days, their practice is extended by other types of training. Coach Emily Farrar is a big proponent of cross-training, so the team typically trains in the weight room twice a week and at the pool at least once a week. “Pool practice maintains form but also is less impact, so it’s good for cardio,” junior captain Dylan Blumenthal said. Water running involves a buoyancy belt to help keep the runners standing up while they “jog” the length of the pool. “If you check your form, you can learn a lot from the training which will ultimately increase your fitness level,” Farrar explained.

While in the weight room, the team works on building strength. Similar to water running, strength training translates into good running form. “Having a strong core makes a stronger athlete, and building strength in the weight room transforms into good running form,” Blumenthal described. “Additionally, doing exercises such as calf raises with plates helps injury prevention.” Typical exercises include weighted deadlifts and squats.

Practice for the track team does not stop at Wilson’s front doors. Each runner is expected to complete one to two workouts on their own per week. The many requirements for being a Wilson runner can be a big adjustment for students. Sophomore Vincent Kamani emphasizes the discipline required to be a student-athlete. “You go to afternoon practices, you do your homework, you’ll go to sleep really late, and then you’ll have to wake up early in the morning, and then push your body through even more before doing it all again,” he said. Still, he does not regret becoming a runner. “As you fall in love with running, it becomes less of a big deal… you’ll be looking forward to the practices,” he added.

Blumenthal echoed this sentiment. “It’s a group of really hardworking people that are practicing many days a week and putting their best effort out every time they’re on the track. I believe we are one of the hardest-working teams at Wilson and that we deserve that acknowledgment,” he said.

Across the board, Wilson runners feel somewhat misunderstood. “I wish people knew that there’s a lot more that goes into distance running than just running all the time,” junior Nora Webb said. Blumenthal agreed, saying, “people think that since you’re not getting in physical contact with anybody else, it’s less of a sport and the racing and everything is just kind of a side thing and a skill you develop.” One thing is certain: lots of discipline and hard work are necessary to be the best runner you can be. Track and field is not a sport for the weary.