In the Long run: Track sucks, but it’s worth it

Michael Long, Sports Editor

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a track coach walk up to a kid that’s involved in another sport and said something like, “You should come out for track this year. It’ll help you in your other sport.”

Back in the day when I heard this happen, I just thought the track team was low on numbers and desperate for runners. It turns out, they were actually speaking the truth, and I know from first-hand experience.

Last year, I made one of those “if you do it, I’ll do it” deals with my friend about running track, and he actually did it, so I couldn’t turn back. My word is my bond, you know? So I ran my first year of track, and it was, well, an experience.

It was definitely one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. My legs were sore every single day. Cramps occurred quite often. My shins felt like they were shattered into a million pieces. In the very first 400-meter dash I ran, I literally almost passed out. I was experiencing real tunnel vision as I crossed that finish line, but I was fresh meat. I was whipped into shape soon after that and began to reap the benefits of my hard work.

The biggest benefit was becoming more comfortable with running. Running just became easier. I learned the proper running technique and built stamina and strength. This helped me immensely in the other sport I play which is basketball. After my first year of running track, running in basketball practices seemed like a piece of cake, and running in games seemed easier too.

The other huge benefit was the boost to my mental strength. In order to survive in track, your mentality has to be rock solid. Track truly sculpted my mentality into one that doesn’t give up easily, and I’ve carried that into other aspects of life besides sports.

If you don’t want to take my word then consider some of these facts.

NFL running back Adrian Peterson is well known for record, 296 rushing-yard, game and his MVP season in 2012, but little know about his stellar high school career. His senior year in Palestine, Texas, he ran for 2,960 yards and 32 touchdowns. He also ran track and was pretty good at it. His best time for the 100-meter dash was 10.19 seconds and he also ran a 21.23 second 200, according to USA Today. The correlation between Peterson’s amazing football career and amazing track career is no coincidence.

Ted Ginn Jr. is another NFL player who did both track and football. This past season, he averaged almost 15 yards per catch with the New Orleans Saints and has racked up over 5,000 yards in his 12 seasons, but before all of this, he was a track guy. He was even looking into getting into the Olympics in 2008 with his 10.2 second 100-meter dash, according to USA Today.

Professional sports, the NFL especially, have pages of athletes who ran track in their younger days due to the fact that it helps improve overall athleticism. This may seem like a daunting objective, but here at SHS, running track feels pressure-free. The coaching staff doesn’t seem to care if you’re out of shape or have never ran before. If you show up and work hard everyday, you’ll be fine. So, if anyone wants to improve their overall athleticism to help in another sport or just wants a way to be involved and stay in shape, I highly suggest running track.