Running Through Life

With teachers cracking down, tryouts being held, and students being exhausted, many athletes have felt the stress and pressures high school


Lauren Spakowski

Olivia Guffey runs a great race at the state preview course.

Doris Earle, Reporter

Student athletes talk about not having enough time for tiny things, from homework to mental health breaks to even time with family. Although they may be thinking ‘I need a break,’ the pressures felt when you try to find time for that just add on to the stress.

Many students feel pressure from their coaches to excel in what they are doing and often times overthink how they are going to do it, or just put too much effort into doing something that is supposed to be fun and turn it into a stress creator.

Three-season athlete and AP student Olivia Guffey says that with all the workouts she does, homework she has, and activities she would like to do, she hasn’t quite figured out how to manage it all.

“It’s a balance I just haven’t seemed to find,” junior Olivia Guffey said.

Being a student is a tough matter today, and adding sports onto that can get to be too much, especially when it’s cracking down to finals time and you have countless hours of studying to do. It feels like you can’t escape the pressures of high school.

Olivia Guffey says the reason she does all of this is she feels accomplished. After all, we only have four years to do all of this stuff. So she does everything she can, like cross country, swim and to finish off the school year, track.

“The teammates really help. They definitely have helped me stay motivated through every season,” Guffey said.

Jayce Haun
Adrienne Rockette does jumping jacks to get her heart rate up at practice after a long day at school.

Guffey says she does running to deal with the stress. Many run to get rid of the stress, which is a healthy coping tactic and actually produces “feel-good” hormones. Even though at times it may feel like your problems are too much and you should put running on the back burner, it will eventually benefit you and help you find ways to deal with your stress.

At a normal practice during the off-season for runners, varsity runs nearly five miles. Sometimes there are 75-100 meter strides to help with form and speed. After that, they still have to go home and do all the homework they can accomplish while incorporating eating and getting a good amount of sleep in there.

Adrienne Rockette, a sophomore who does cross country and track, had 100% attendance at the summer runs, which are almost every day at 7 or 8 a.m. Most people were at 70% attendance or lower.  It was a challenge for her to stay motivated, seeing as the entire school got to sleep in every day, but she was up at 6 a.m. and running the trails by 7:15 a.m.

“I was really encouraged by the coaches and my teammates and kept motivated and positive by thinking ‘if I don’t go, I’m going to be at step one again and that’s even more work’ and that really helped my mindset stay focused,” Rockette said. 

On the days that the athletes are struggling, it’s important for the coaches to be encouraging, which their coaches do well. 

Their coach, Sheldon Webster, always asks what they are running for on those difficult days. This allows them to just think about why they are there, why they are spending so much of their free time on the track, and why they continue to wake up early for meets and morning practices to defeat the heat. 

Meet days are when the athletes really show their stress. So much pressure and worry about doing good is put on them by themselves. It’s not ideal, but the stress does eat away at their performance. 

I was really encouraged by the coaches and my teammates and kept motivated and positive by thinking ‘If I don’t go, I’m going to be at step one again, and that’s even more work’ and that really helped my mindset stay focused.”

— Adrienne Rockette

Guffey and Rockette’s coach reminds them to “stay in the circle” constantly at stressful times. It means that you’re there to have fun, and not impress anyone, because no one outside of the teams opinions should matter because they weren’t there training at 5 a.m. practice doing reps on the track or out training when the heat index is 104 and the rest of the teams are inside in the AC.

Stress is a daily thing for many people, but having to train all year long, almost every day can get to be a lot, especially as a teenager. But having a good outlet like coaches or teammates is a huge part of coping with the stress.

“At the end of the day, I want to run with my friends and laugh with my coaches,” Rockette says. 

This is their outlet and happiness at the end of the day. It is their place they can go to no matter what. Running is their life, they live through it.