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C. Adam Pfander Photograph

Journals

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Between Seasons

November 29, 2012   

Cross Country ended three weeks ago this Saturday, which sets the stage for the fast coming Indoor Track season.  At first glance, this seems to be an exhausting, non-stop running regimen, but Hamilton, fortunately, takes a more nuanced approach to rest and recovery.  Fall athletes are given almost two months before officially joining winter season practices.  With such a long rest, we return in January with ready legs and rested minds.

Most high schools launch directly from one season to the next, which puts a huge burden on young athletes.  The goals of the winter season are generally eclipsed by the fatigue of the fall; if competitions begin in December, there is literally no respite in the back-breaking schedule of training.  The body remains in a constant state of break down.  Running especially can be detrimental without the necessary reprieve.  So much stress is put on the body, tendons can break, muscles can tear and even bones may crack.

I was fortunate in my high school—we did not have an indoor track; my winter was completely open to run as I feel.  But at the same time, I watched other athletes work exhaustingly from one season to the next, often dreading their next practice.

This vicious cycle is stopped at Hamilton.  The between season rest is two months of complete freedom—no organized practices, just individual time.  For some, like my roommate who also runs XC, this means a complete break from training.  For others like myself, it means free running.  We can set out on the trail and do whatever distance at whatever speed—total liberation.

The team remains incredibly close despite no official practices.  We run together when we can; we eat dinner together almost every night.  And with two months of rest, we will come back to Winter Track eager to run, happy to be back in season.