Don’t you hate it when you’re the one runner that falls on every run?
This is a blog about “Cross Country Probs,” a relatable blog posts for runners of all types, but especially those on high school cross country teams. Cross Country is a sport, compared to others, that pushes your body and mind to the absolute limit.
I can remember my very first cross country race in 7th grade. I remember freaking out and crying right before the race began. All throughout middle school, my coach would tell me “All you can do is all you can do.” I would repeat this in my head the whole race, every single step until the finish.
Now that I’m a sophomore, I found out that high school cross country is much different . One being that they tack on one extra mile going from 2.2 to 3.2 mile races. In middle school you train about 2-3 miles at practices, but in high school, you train 4-6. If I had one word to describe it, it’d be INTENSE.
In my first race as a freshman, I was crying and anxiously waiting for the gun to go off. I didn’t know how I would do. Overwhelmed with these different emotions didn’t help me any. Every race after that was like this. The high school cross country courses are difficult and so hard on your body. You wanna walk so badly, but you know you can’t. It’s physical, but even more than that, it’s a mental challenge. It’s mentally exhausting to tell your body to keep going. My coach always tells my whole team that “we have to push ourselves.”
The runners life is a tough and exhausting life. But the mental and physical exhaustion is worth every single second. We runners push ourselves, eat loads and loads of pasta, and train like no other sport. Then, when the gun goes off, and we run our hearts out!
The people who yell at us while we’re running are the people who want us to improve and do better, like our parents, teammates or coaches. Motivation is the foundation to all athletic effort and accomplishment. Without the will and desire to improve your performance, all of the other mental factors (confidence, intensity, focus and emotions) are meaningless. To be the best athlete you can be, you must be motivated to achieve your goals.
Motivation will impact everything that influences how well you do while running. Like physical conditioning, technical training, mental preparation, sleep and your diet. You have control over motivation, that’s why it’s so important. The difficulty of competition influences your motivation to do well. During a race, having your parents, teammates, and coaches there to cheer you on and to keep motivating you helps you push yourself to the max.
During the final cross country race in the regular season this year, my goal was to break the 25 minute mark because I had been getting that time the whole season. My dad was there and was calling out the times at all the mile markers. He would scream “Go faster!” and call out my time which did help me to go faster. I ended up getting 24:37, which bumped me to 10th on our team. I couldn’t believe it. During the whole race, I wanted to slow down so much; but I knew that if I wanted to achieve a goal, I needed to speed up. Having the support of my dad and coach there helped me finish. (Also the fact that I carb-loaded the night before).
Being motivated is part of making yourself become a better athlete. To succeed in a sport, you MUST be motivated.
“ I succeed on my own personal motivation, dedication, and commitment. My mindset is: If I’m not out there training, someone else is.” – Lynn Jennings
American long distance runner