I want to start track in high school?

by Sarah

Hi!



So next year I will be a freshman in high school and I really want to try out for track. The thing is, I have never done track before or anything distance related. So I want to start "training" now so I'll have plenty of time to prepare. I just have a few questions:

-What is the typical high school track tryout like? What do they generally expect you to do?

-What is the difference between track and cross country?

- Is there a good training program I can do?

I know these are REALLY basic questions but if you could help, that would be awesome. Any other tips would be good too!:)

Hello Sarah,

I'll answer your questions one by one. First, at our school, we put the new track athletes through a series of tests to see what events they possibly would excel at. Some of these tests include doing a standing broad jump. Good jumpers are used in the high jump, long jump, and triple jump. We do a 100 meter dash. Obviously the fast times would be in sprinting events like the 100, 200, and 400. If you are good jumper and a good sprinter, you could also try doing the hurdles. Finally, the last test is an 800, or the half mile run. The best runners in this event will probably be the distance runners on the track team and do events like the 800, mile, or two mile run. We don't have cuts at our school, so even though it's called a "tryout," it's more of to see what events you should do. I doubt your school has cuts, but I could be wrong.

The difference between track and cross country is only really in the races. For both sports, if you run the distance events for track, the training is similar. You have to do a lot of distance runs and endurance workouts to get into shape for the races.

Cross Country is a longer race. Depending upon which state you are in, the race is anywhere from 2 to a little over 3 miles. Cross Country also is ran on grass or trails. For instance, at the school I coach at, we run our race at a local park. You have to deal with hills too for cross country. One nice thing is everyone on your team runs the same distance. You also get to race together as a team instead of doing different events like in track.

Track has a lot of events, but all the running races are run right on the track. For me, track can get a little boring, especially for an event like the 3200 or 2 mile run. You have to run eight laps, so all that going in a circle gets a bit old. The mile and half mile are a little more exciting, but you have to have some decent sprinting speed for the finishing kick in close races. You can also do field events and run. For instance, my wife would run the half mile, but she also did the long jump. In college, I would run the mile, but I also threw the javelin. The variety makes it kind of cool in a track meet.

As for training, just start running four or five times a week. I wouldn't worry about a comprehensive training program. Just get a routine down where you run consistently. Don't worry about how fast or slow you are going. Work yourself up to where you are comfortable running three to four miles. Another way to be prepared is to do other sports in the meantime. Soccer, basketball, and swimming are all great sports that build your endurance so running won't be as difficult for you when the CC or track season starts. Here's a few videos with Track and CC Tips.





I hope I answered your questions. Good luck next year. The best thing about CC and Track are the people. You'll meet some nice girls and hopefully make some great friends.

Happy Trails - Coach Tief

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