BY APRILL EMIG | The Statesman It’s a challenge no other sport has to face: switching from indoor to outdoor partway through the season. From different events to training changes, juggling track and field’s different environments can be a challenge.
The women’s outdoor track season begins this weekend with the Hamline Invitational in St. Paul, which means a change of pace for the team. Though they’ve been sprinting and jumping since October, most of it has been inside the field house.
“It’s so tight and it’s just so old,” sophomore mid-distance runner Emi Trost said, referring to the track’s tight corners. “It can make it hard to pick your speed up.”
Practice takes place from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday in the fieldhouse, where the track is located. UMD’s indoor track isn’t a standard 200 meter length. Instead, it comes in around 167 meters, which makes practicing a little more complicated.
“When I first got here, running indoor was just weird because I had to think about splits differently,” Trost said. “I had to realize that I had to kick it in (for the 400 meter) with two laps to go rather than one.”
The distances themselves differ between the indoor and outdoor seasons. There are indoor mid-distance courses as well as the 800, 1000, mile, 3k and a 5k. The outdoor season features a 1,500 instead of the 1,000 meter run, a Steeplechase (which is like the 3k but with hurdles and water jumps), as well as a 10k.
“You wouldn’t want to run a 10k indoor because that would be a lot of laps,” women’s track coach Joanna Warmington said. “And obviously we can’t do the steeplechase indoor because we’d need a water pit.”
There are also different field events for the outdoor season like 400 meter hurdles, the javelin and the hammer throw.
“All of these are events that we just can’t do in an indoor facility,” Warmington said. “So now we have to train for those.”
Warmington’s training method consists of three parts: endurance, anaerobic and speed. She treats indoor and outdoor as two separate seasons, with the goal of having the team peak at the end of each.
The women’s track and field team gets outside as much as they can, even when they’re competing indoors. It allows them to get used to the environmental differences and the feeling of being on a different track.
“Outdoor is a lot more difficult than indoor,” Warmington said. “A lot of places in the south don’t even have an indoor season, so they’ve been training outdoor this entire time.”
This also means that a lot more schools participate in the outdoor season, creating a more competitive atmosphere. The Bulldogs aren’t discouraged. They hope to carry momentum over from last weekend’s NCAA II Indoor Championship, the final indoor meet of the season. Senior Hannah Olson and Emi Trost both received All-American titles for their mile run.
Trost would have broken the national mile-run record that day at 4:37:57, but she lost to Hillside University’s Erin Olsen (4:35:48). Even after this personal best, Trost said she’s just excited to get outside.
“I love the open track,” Trost said. “Getting outside in the springtime—it’s just so freeing to me.”