A Vacant Vacation

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By: Michael Wang <[email protected]>

Wearing his short shorts and long sleeves, sophomore Griffin Brunk finds the time to get up every morning to run around his neighborhood anywhere between four to six miles for an hour or an hour and a half. However, this is not during the track or cross-country season. This is during winter break.

Like Brunk, some students here choose to not just relax over winter break. They use that time to practice for a particular sport. Brunk said, “I run cross-country and train for the upcoming track season.” Because he is a long-distance runner, he added that he trains in order to try to improve his times.

Track Head Coach Tim Mylin said, “Most coaches strongly encourage training prior to the start of spring sports, mainly to get the athletes in a state of readiness for harder workouts once official practice begins. Winter training for track is a big help for injury prevention as well.”

Counselor Maria Cottone said, “I think that we have a lot of students who are highly motivated to do their best. So, they take their break and capitalize on the extra reading or extra workouts to get an edge before the next semester starts.”

Students who decide to utilize that time period to get ahead instead of just relaxing are motivated to try to improve. According to Brunk, he trains in order to beat his previous times and records in long-distance running.

This motivation to try to get ahead over winter break can prove to be beneficial later in life, according to Cottone. “I think that as students become more independent and start to become more clear on their skills, interests and goals, they will choose to use their free time more wisely,” she said. “Self motivation and drive can foreshadow future successes in every facet of life.”

Students who work over winter break, added Cottone, may gain some life skills such as time management. “Honing time management skills is always a huge key to success for all of us,” she said. “It can make the difference in levels of performance at school, at home, in extracurricular activities and in our careers.”

Mylin said, “Having the discipline to work out on a regular basis will most certainly help in terms of carry-over long-term wise.”

For students like Brunk, they have a rough schedule of when they are to practice.

Brunk said that he runs four to six miles every day over break around eight in the morning for an hour or an hour and a half. According to him, he practices because track season begins after winter break.

Practicing for most students over winter break has almost become a tradition for them. According to Brunk, he has been practicing over winter break for four years now.

“For track and field and cross-country, year round training is essential, especially for distance runners. For distance runners, it is a good ‘habit’ to train year round as it will help performance improvement throughout one’s high school years,” Mylin said. “I encourage my athletes to make training a lifelong commitment, which is a key ingredient to a healthy lifestyle. ‘Fit for Life’ is my motto.”

There are days, though, that Brunk said he doesn’t practice while on winter break. Brunk said that he doesn’t run on most holidays, but on Sundays it just depends on how he feels.

“I do believe that winter break is a huge opportunity to do some rejuvenating, too,” Cottone concluded. “Spending time with family, friends and even alone in some reflection is highly beneficial. Using the time to explore new interests, travel, volunteer, read for pleasure and doing whatever you want to do since you have time is very important.”