Spears looks back on unique training

Apr. 27—Every Tuesday afternoon during the spring, the Tahlequah Tigers distance teams won't be found at the track or anywhere near the school.

While most of the team is practicing at THS, the distance team does its Tuesday a little differently. Every Tuesday, distance coaches Elzy Miller and David Spears take their crew to run trails.

"This goes back to the time before I was on staff," Spears said. "You get off the roads, you get off the hard track; it is a lot more comforting and more forgiving for your knees. It is good scenery and it is shady."

The Tigers have three different trails, varying in length, that they can run. The shortest one takes THS runners about 35 minutes to just under an hour to finish, while others can go as long as two hours.

The six-mile trek is to help the Tigers recover. Getting to perform away from the track is better for runners' lower bodies. The softer impact of the gravel road helps prepare their legs for an upcoming meet.

"It is a recovery. Sunday is a long run; Monday, that's hard track work out. Tuesday is just a light run; they can talk to each other and they aren't trying to set the speed record," Spears said.

Running the trails allows the Tigers to ramp up their performance ahead of their meets on Fridays. While the trail run is one of the longest they do all week, it is not to "set the speed record," according to Spears.

"It helps build your endurance up; that is what helps you go, no matter if it is an 800-, 1,600-, or 3,200-meter race," Spears said.

The Tigers look to open the Regional Tournament on Friday, May 5.

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