Cross country team starts winter training

Due to COVID-19 protocols, cross country runners made adjusts to their winter training

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By Casey Cunningham

Stretching and warming up with her team, senior Logan Pfeister gets ready for cross country winter training Monday Dec. 15. She’s appreciative of being able to train during winter still, “The best part about winter training is I feel like the offseason is a great opportunity to get better for the cross country season,” Pfeister said. “It is also fun to just socialize with all the girls and not have the stress of racing.”

Madison Burrow, JAG reporter/photographer

After an end to the fall cross country season, winter training has begun. Due to the changes from warm to cold weather and COVID-19, the transition to winter training may be more difficult for runners to adjust to. Cross country coach Chris McAfee has had to modify certain training procedures. 

Our training procedures have changed, mostly, with mask-wearing and social distancing. We wear masks all of the time except when running,” McAfee said. “We have had to cut back a lot on one-on-one conversations and our post run training. Those are things we are hoping to introduce, safely, this winter.”

To follow COVID protocols this season, the team had to eliminate going to certain meets, taking team trips, dinners, and more. To try and limit as much close contact as possible, runners haven’t been able to do much together outside of practice. 

We have been really limited in some of the things that we do to develop our team atmosphere. We weren’t able to take a team trip this past summer, no out of town meets this past fall, no team dinners, etc. Those seem like little things, but those are important parts of our program,” McAfee said. 

Constant mask-wearing is taking a toll on the team, causing communication to be more challenging. 

“Masks have made it difficult to have a lot of conversations. We are trying to get kids home from practice quickly, so that cuts down on some coaching opportunities to help kids improve,” McAfee said. 

Junior Logan Pfeister prefers summer training over winter training. 

In the summer, we train pretty hard to get ready for the cross country season. I feel like it’s a lot more intense. I would say it is harder in the winter because it’s colder and you sometimes have less motivation after the fall season. It’s hard coming right after school,” Pfeister said. 

With the heat gone, specific precautions are taken to stay warm while running. 

“Some kids love training in the winter more than the summer because of the heat. It obviously gets pretty cold, so proper clothing is important. We also have to be careful because of the cold weather – sometimes we have to adjust what we are doing for practice,” McAfee said.

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