By: Marlena B. (’20)
It’s no secret that track is a stressful sport. Most people have likely heard their friends complaining endlessly about the races, the training and all the pain and stress that goes along with it. So why do these people come back year after year despite these challenges? How do they deal with the stress to compete successfully? I decided to interview some current track members to find out.
Here are the questions:
1.) Have you ever wanted to quit track because of the stress you felt from it? If you have ever wanted to quit, what motivates you to keep on running?
2.) What are some of the methods you use to combat the stress that then allows you to compete successfully?
Elaine C. ’20
1.) I’ve never wanted to quit track because despite the stress, I immensely enjoy the jumping and the occasional running. When I do run, I put in all my effort and even though it is truly the worst pain/feelings I’ve ever felt after a race, I still go back because there’s almost relief in being able to concentrate all my effort into one single thing, if that makes sense. The only thing I have to focus on in a race is the race itself, there are no other pressing matters.
2.) I mentally prepare myself during the commute to the meet, taking the bus time to relax, empty my mind and visualize what I’m going to be doing. I typically close my eyes, slow down my breathing and replay past jumps in my head. Right before I go for a jump, I shake out my arms and legs and take deep breaths and talk to myself encouragingly.
Jake S. ’20
1.) I’ve never wanted to quit track because of the stress of gives me. In my opinion, what I love most about track is how the stress amplifies the competition. I know that the more stress I have, the more adrenaline I’ll have. It’s the drive to win that makes the stress ok.
2.) Methods I use to downplay stress is making the race seem like just another race in my head even if it has a ton of importance like the state races. Alternatively, I visualize the race in my head before I race it; obviously the outcome is me winning and that helps a little bit.
Ella R. ’19
1.) While I do tend to get stressed out about track, it ultimately gives me more satisfaction than distress. At the end of the day, running is something that I love to do, and the feeling I get from improving and achieving my goals far exceeds any stress or pain I encounter along the way. Additionally, many of my close friends are on the track team, and so running on the team allows me to spend time with them. Definitely a huge part of my track experience is the sense of community and friendship that goes along with spending so much time with the other runners.
2.) I think that it’s normal to be nervous or stressed about competing, and I don’t usually feel that my ability to compete is inhibited by my stress. However, sometimes I do need to calm down before a meet, just to feel better and be able to focus. For me, I like to take deep breaths, talk with my friends, listen to music, or read as a way of de-stressing. If I do get really stressed, I remind myself to just do my best. Another thing I like to focus on is having fun; sometimes I get so wrapped up in running a certain time that I forget why I really do track. If I focus on having fun, I usually feel less stressed and am often able to run better, too.
Sophie Lawrence ’18
1.) Yeah actually, I have. Sometimes, I am really hard on myself and can get impatient. The pressure of racing and time commitment of practices can get overwhelming a time. Any time I begin to get inundated from stress, I think about how hard I have worked to get to where I am in running. I would definitely say that self-pride keeps me going because this sport is hard and just trying my best and making an effort is impressive enough! Even more motivating than feeling good about my accomplishments is my friends; my teammates are my support system and the people I relate to the most. Whenever I think I can’t handle it, I think of them and their dedication and I continue.
2.) Well, I’m honestly not great at handling the stress of races. No matter how many you do, they are still very nerve-wracking. Nevertheless, my go-to method for keeping calm is listening to some music and chatting with my friends. Anything I can do to distract myself pre-race helps, but I still have to remember to stay focused on my ultimate goals and try my hardest to run well.
Gaby L. ’18
1.) I’ve never truly considered quitting track. Although it has its ups and downs, nothing compares to being able to run with some of my best friends everyday or the feeling at the end of a grueling race.
2.) To combat stress, I go through the worst-case scenarios in my head (i.e. coming last) and tell myself that even if this does happen, it won’t be the end of the world.
Nick M. ’18
1.) I don’t think I’ve ever thought about quitting, but I’ve definitely hated days when I had a race in the past. I keep on running because I love the feeling of achievement after finishing a race, as well as the physical feeling of competing and running strong.
2.) One method I use is to just talk to other runners on the warm-up field before my race. Just chatting and laughing about the shared pain we all know so well from running makes it easier to stay in the present and ignore the stress settling in your stomach.
Nicky M. ’18
2.) I have never felt stressed because of running. In fact, running after a hard day of school makes me feel less stressed. Sometimes if I am procrastinating I like to go running. Then, when I come back I feel refreshed and feel ready to get work done. If you think running is stressful then I recommend trying to run everyday so it becomes part of your routine. Running with friends can also make the experience more fun. However, if you do want to compete successfully you are going to have to embrace the fact that pain is part of training. If you work hard in practice you will feel good when you crush people in races.