Highlighting the difference between spring and winter track

Gideon Rosinplotz, Contributor

With the indoor track season recently wrapping up and the outdoor season starting, it would be useful to know the difference between the two. Indoor track and outdoor track are two completely different activities, not just the same sport in a different location. 

For starters, race times outdoors are usually a little faster. This is because of two primary factors. The first is that outdoor tracks are simply twice the distance in length (400 meter outside, 200 meter inside) and running all the twists and turns of a track half as many times just makes for a quicker time. The second reason seems not so obvious, but it is deceivingly simple: athletes in the spring or outdoor season have had more time than the athletes in the winter season to train and condition. The indoor season starts close to the start of school, the outdoor season much later. Both the indoor and outdoor seasons are extremely important to athletes, but the indoor can sometimes be an unintentional boost to athletes for the outdoor.

Performance is not the only difference between indoor and outdoor- more available competitions in outdoor track also plays a role. The official DCIAA indoor track season fully returned this year for the first time since 2019, and those COVID-riddled years meant that not only did athletes not get to participate, interest was also lost. “What impacted our team overall was our numbers,” said head coach for indoor and outdoor track, Tia Clemmons. With more numbers comes more talent and interest towards the team, and the bounce back from the pandemic for indoor track was more difficult because of this. 

The conditioning and training are also a big difference between the two. Jackson-Reed does not have an indoor track, so if the weather is not suitable for practice, which is very common during the winter, then the practice is forced to go indoor which hinders the progress the athletes can make. With access to a track outdoors and better weather in the spring, you are able to have training that progresses your abilities more. The only downside to the track outdoors is that although it looks like an ordinary track from a glance, the actual track is somewhat closer to 350 meters rather than the standard 400, and that can have a weird psychological impact on the athletes come race day when you finally compete on a 400 meter track.

While indoor and outdoor track are different, it’s necessary to support your classmates in both. With spring around the corner, you can do just that in the beautiful outdoors!