“A lot of people have said, “You guys are doing swim or yoga? That doesn’t have anything to do with cross country,a��” sophomore cross country runner Chloe Zeien said.
Recently, the cross country team has added yoga and pool practices to their schedule, which is a rather unorthodox method for the sport. Now in addition to basic running practices, the cross country has one yoga and two pool sessions a week. While these practices may be new, they have been under consideration for some time.
“We’ve been talking about doing these kinds of things for a couple years, but this is the first year we actually implemented them,” junior Jake Ball said. “The coaches have been wanting to do this for a while.”
Many outsiders have been confused as to why these practices were added. But, there are many advantages these new practices present. The yoga helps to improve the flexibility among the runners. For these practices, a yoga instructor is brought in once a week to help the team stay loose. The yoga helps the runners, for it is important to be stretched in order to be successful while running.
Senior Lynsey Davison believes that the cross country team has already seen improvement through the yoga sessions.
“Our team lacks flexibility, so that’s why [we are doing yoga],” Lynsey said. “It’s definitely good to stretch your legs and stretch all your body. When you’re tight, you get injured faster. When we do yoga, it loosens everything.”
The runners have been enjoying the yoga; however, they still are growing used to the feeling of the deep stretches.
“The poses are a little advanced,” Lynsey said. “I would say I’m a little under-stretched.”
In addition to yoga, the pool workouts have also been added to the cross country agenda. In these practices, the team meets at the Aquatic Center to tread water and participate in relays. These pool sessions have been a nice addition to the constant running every day.
“When you’re running, you have a lot of stress on your legs,” Chloe said. “Being able to have a workout in the pool is a nice break.”
The main purpose of the pool workouts is injury prevention and injury recovery. It is thought that aquatic movement can help speed up rehabilitation time after injuries. It is also seen as a way to prevent future injuries. While time in the pool is extremely beneficial to the running process, there has been one difficult challenge the team members face. In order to get access to the pool during swim season, all the pool practices are scheduled at six a.m. before school.
“We hear a lot of complaining about [the early mornings],” Chloe said. “I think in the end, [the pool practices] are helpful.”
While these early mornings are challenging, the benefits outweigh the negatives. Jake thinks the team has been adjusting to having two practices a day.
“[The early mornings] are bad for the first five minutes,” Jake said. “But then you get over it.”
Some members of the cross country team have already seen improvement in their overall health due to these practices. Lynsey has personally benefited from these new workouts.
“I have shin splints right now, so [yoga and pool is] helping it get better,” Lynsey said.
Aside from the health benefits, the team has been bonded over these new activities. With two practices a day, the team has been able to bond.
“We spend more time together now,” Chloe said. “We’re up early, and we’re late for school all the time.”
The cross country team has been able to grow closer by doing these activities that may have been outside of their comfort zone.
“It’s fun when we all go,” Lynsey said. “It’s not anything that’s super hard. We all get together and have fun.”
While these activities have been rather unusual for a cross country team, the team has seen the benefits of these strange practices.
“I like it, and I think these practices help in the long run,” Chloe said. “It’s nice to change it up a bit.”