Despite holding few in-person practices before the start of the winter term, the Track and Field coaches tried their best to make each practice engaging and enjoyable. According to Coach Collins, practices tended to have high-intensity exercises while also being nonrepetitive.
Collins said, “We tried to make it so that there would be some days where there was some high-intensity… Even though it was a short span of just nine days, we didn’t want to make it so that it was so repetitive that people were thinking, ‘Oh we’re doing this again.’”
Esme Huh ’22 believed that in-person practices this past term were less physically demanding compared to practices in years past since everyone was coming from their fall sports.
“During the in-person practices at the end of fall term, it was lenient—I don’t know if that’s the right word, but it was less structured than it might normally be just because we were all coming from different fall sports and different places. I think [online] it’s definitely more about the individual athlete, just because we have a good general training plan, but it’s kind of like more of what you can do in your circumstance,” Huh said.
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Though the track team had just nine days of in-person training, the team is doing its best to stay connected through various methods. Some of the distance runners utilize an app called Strava to stay connected with one another, according to Charlotte Whitehurst ’22.
Whitehurst said, “I know specifically for distance we have this app called Strava. So, for example, I went out running this morning and I can post how far I ran with the time, and then I can write some comments like ‘Today I saw a really cool bird’ or ‘This run felt good.’ and then that gets posted. My teammates can see it and they can like it, they can comment on it, so you can stay connected in that way.”
According to Whitehurst, the team is participating in virtual events such as challenges, races, and meetings to foster competition.
“So what we’re doing is a lot of just virtual challenges, virtual races, and virtual meetings. So there’s not necessarily like ‘Today at practice we’re going to be doing 300 meter runs. Everyone zoom in and run with us’’ or whatever,” Whitehurst said.
Huh noted that she and some of her teammates are reading Unstoppable, a book written by former hurdles coach Lani Silversides.
Huh said, “A lot of girls on the cross country team—I wasn’t on the cross country team—but we’re reading a book by Coach Silversides… We’re doing kind of like a book club thing which is super fun and we’re staying connected through that… It’s like mental health and mental toughness and things like that, which is really important in the longer distances.”
According to Co-Captain Myra Bhathena ’22, the team will be splitting up into smaller groups during the winter term and will stay connected through participating in the workout groups and in other challenges and competitions.
Bhathena said, “We will be splitting up into smaller, more connected workout groups who will work together to do complete, athletic, [Covid-19]-friendly challenges and compete in friendly competition against other groups. Also, each week, the captains will be sending out a “This Week in PATF” update to the whole team letting them know the challenge of the week, important upcoming information, and to celebrate and cheer for the many non-PATF achievements of our teammates.”
In the end, the team is thinking optimistically in hopes that they can have a few more practices when students return to campus in the spring.
Collins said, “Like everyone else, we’re just going to wait and see what happens in the winter term, and hopefully they’ll be something in the spring term.”