Baylor runners flip switch from XC to track

Sophomore runner Lily Jacobs races in the Arturo Barrios Invitational on Oct. 16 in College Station. Jacobs placed 26th. Photo courtesy of Baylor Athletics

By Gio Gennero | Sports Writer

Obviously, cross country and track aren’t the same. The distances, the workouts, the type of races and the ins and outs of the two are very different.

Sophomore runner Lily Jacobs said a major difference for her is the training. During cross country she does workouts with her teammates and said their friendly rivalries push her even harder during practices. However, during track season she does a lot of workouts alone and said she has to use different methods to stay motivated without the same inner-team competition during runs.

“I’ll mainly be doing all my workouts by myself,” Jacobs said. “We are much more specialized in the spring. My mindset has to be a lot stronger in the spring because it is harder to go into every single day knowing I have to run nine miles by myself. Seeing my teammates doing their workouts motivates me as well as seeing the progress and starting to hit the PRs [personal records].”

Senior runner Ryan Hodge doubled down on the idea that cross country is a more team-oriented sport.

“[In] cross country there is a unique team aspect,” Hodge said. “You’re starting on the same line as up to nine other teammates. There is more camaraderie, you’re racing for your team and for each other. Track is more individually focused, you’re not always racing with teammates. Overall, they can be pretty similar with different workouts.”

Hodge said he believes for track, runners must be self-motivated since they aren’t running for a team. Hodge said track runners have to have an individual drive to keep working hard and trying to be the best runner they can be. He said he believes it brings out a “different kind of competitive mindset” when training during the track season.

Senior Ryan Day jokingly said the difference between the two is cross country is “enduring more pain for a longer time.” He also said runners have to have a different mindset for the two because they need to be attacked differently and running both cross country and track almost makes it a year-round sport.

“Staying motivated throughout the long season comes down to the runner wanting to see what they can really do,” Day said. “I feel at my best when I can score points and help my team place well. This is an objective sport, you can always compare your previous times to gauge how successful you have been. I just keep striving to be the best runner I can be.”

Day said he has been around long enough to know what it takes to compete with the best and because of that, he’s working his best to be able to compete with the top runners at every meet.

Out of Jacobs, Hodge and Day, none were able to identify their favorite between cross country and track. Each said they enjoy both sports about the same amount although at times they favor cross country because of the team aspect to it, but love competing against themselves in track as well.