As Summer Running Ends, Preseason Begins. . .
Hello runners, coaches, and officials! My name is Kate Tugman, I'm a senior from Gorham High School, and I have taken the opportunity to write for MileSplit every two weeks for this year's cross country season. So, for about twice a month throughout this fall, you'll see my little "blogs" pop up when you go to look at the rankings as us runners so often do. Feel free to read, skim, or even skip over it, I don't mind; I'm just here because I love to write, especially about running!
Now that we've got the introductions out of the way, let's move onto the topic at hand: preseason. Yes, cross country has officially started! If you're like me, you're probably feeling loads of excitement mixed with some anxiety in the back of your mind. You can't train on your own anymore and then there's that pesky little thought in the back of your mind that's screaming, "races are coming soon!!" It's time to get back into the competitive mindset which for a runner, comes with a lot of stress and trips to the bathroom.
Don't worry, though, we're all in the same boat and eventually the season will come to an end and we'll be left wondering how it could possibly have gone that fast and wishing we could go back to the beginning, back to preseason. Which is where we are now so, have fun these last couple weeks of summer training with your team, and especially if you're a senior like me, don't ruin all the fun moments worrying about the stressful ones ahead this season.
I'm actually going to let you guys in a little secret: I'm entering the first weeks of this new season, fresh off an injury. I know, I know, how horrible! However, it's not as bad as you think because I've learned that an injury doesn't have to become a "be all, end all." I'm sure some of you are in the same place as me since a runner spends at least 1/3 of their career injured (that's a real statistic my friend, don't ask me where it's from though).
Instead of wondering if I'll be as fast as I was last year without as much summer mileage under my belt, I've started thinking that maybe the rest was helpful; it allowed my body to recover and now I am able to enter this cross country season on a fresh set of legs. With some help from physical therapy, I've been able to up my strength, change my running mechanics so I can run more efficiently, and I'm finally past the building stage as I'm throwing in some speed workouts to my training again. In a way, maybe this injury was a blessing in disguise. It taught me a lot and helped me grow as a runner. So, if you're entering this season with an injury or just getting over one, start thinking about it in a more positive way and start doing things that can heal your injury as well as help you improve as a runner.
Confidence is also key; if you're sitting around thinking that you're going to suck due to this sudden set back, then I hate to break it to you, you will! That goes for anyone who doesn't have an injury as well. Get out there, train hard (but smart), rest at the appropriate times, and remember why you run! I have a feeling that this going to be one hell of a cross country season for Maine and we're only just getting started. Enjoy the remainder of your preseason everyone!
- Kate Tugman