The Instigator
MyDinosaurHands
Pro (for)
Winning
8 Points
The Contender
asparagus21
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Distance Track is Better than Cross Country

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
MyDinosaurHands
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/3/2014 Category: Sports
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,156 times Debate No: 53955
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
Votes (2)

 

MyDinosaurHands

Pro

For this debate, I would really like a runner, who participates in both Distance Track and Cross Country.

First, a couple ground rules when it comes to what can be debated.

Distance Track shall be defined as the 400 meter dash, 800 meter run, 1600 meter run, 3200 meter run, 3200 meter relay, and 1600 meter relay. If I forgot any events let me know in the comments.

Let's just keep the considerations between the high school version of these sports. Additionally, factors like weather should not be used in the following sense, "The weather is less cold and rainy during Cross." Depending on where you live this may or not be true. Try to keep things universal.

First Round will be for Acceptance.
asparagus21

Con

As someone who participates in both sports, I believe that cross country is better than long distance track. Cross country is more efficient and more exciting than long distance track.
Debate Round No. 1
MyDinosaurHands

Pro

Thanks for accepting asparagus21.

For my first round of arguments I will be presenting 3 ways in which Track is superior to Cross.

EFFICIENCY
Anybody who is a serious runner will tell you that lowering their race times is their biggest or one of their biggest priorities. The best way to lower your time is to have a planned pace. For instance, if I want to run a mile in less than five minutes, I need to make sure each lap around the track (i.e. 400 meters) in less than 75 seconds, or I at least need to make sure my average time around the track once is less than 75 seconds. In Track, you are able to closely and accurately monitor your pace, and this lends unique things to a race in Track.

The racing and the planning suddenly becomes much more scientific and detail oriented. Instead of measuring every mile like you do in a Cross Country race, you know can measure every lap. This is advantageous to a runner because it lets you know exactly where you start to slow down in your race. Knowing when you start to slow down, in an increment as specific as a quarter mile, really allows you to fine tune your racing.

If you know from examining your past splits that your 5th lap in the 2 mile is the slowest, the next time you're running the 2, you can focus on your stride more, to ensure you don't start slipping behind. Cross Country does not provide this kind of attention to detail. Your time can only be taken at every mile, so that leaves you with only 3 times to examine. Bear in mind also, that these times are for a much bigger chunk of distance. Cross Country simply can't provide the same kind of precision oriented racing.

And we shouldn't be dismissing out of hand the benefits of precision racing and precision planning. To put it simply, every time you get your time taken, that's like a wake up call. It lets you know if you're still on pace or if you're slowing down, and if you are, it lets you know by how much. You get less of these wake up calls during a Cross Country race, and therefore you may end up slacking off more, meaning Cross Country racing leaves one more prone to less efficient racing than one would see in Track.

I don't want to continue harping on this for too long, but you can take the precision racing even further in Track. Go back to the trying to get under 5 in the mile example. If you're aiming for a 75 second quarter, you can measure your pace before you even complete a lap. The quarter, halfway, and 3 quarters parts of the lap are clearly marked. So if you're aiming for a 75 second quarter, you can make sure you're on pace by checking to see if you're running a 18.75 second quarter lap and a 37.5 second half lap.

As I hope I have made clear, Track provides a much more controlled and calculated running environment, and thus gives you more opportunities to fine tune your race, and make you a more successful runner.

VARIETY
As I stated in Round 1, there are quite a few races in Track. For those of you who aren't aware, in Cross Country (high school) there is only one race, and that is a 5k, or 3.1 miles.

I'd contend that Track has another leg up over Cross because of all the options you have for racing. The options available really do provide unique kinds of races. For instance, the 400 meter is short compared to the 2 mile, but you are going balls to the walls the whole way. When you compare it to something like the mile or 2 mile, given the pace and distance, they are completely different races. And given that they are completely different races, they require very different runners.

This is nice, because it allows runners to really feel like they've found a niche on their team, one that they are particularly suited for. I do things in the 2 mile that the more muscular runners in the 400 would completely balk at, and vice versa.

This idea of specialization can also lead to greater successes for runners. Some people are more suited for middle distance (i.e. 400m, 800m), and during Cross Country they might be good, but they certainly aren't the best on the team. I know a guy on my team like this. He is moderately successful in 5k's (and that's not for lack of work I assure you), but when goes in the 800 with all the guys who beat him in 5k's, he can smoke them. Track affords this guy a greater sense of success, by providing him more options, bettering his opportunities to find an event that he excels at.

VARIETY PT. 2
When variety is provided, it does more than give someone a race that they are particularly suited for. If a coach knows what he's doing, he knows that occasionally putting runners in different events will make them better in their usual event. I'll take myself as an example.

My second most previous meet I ran in the 2 mile relay, which means I ended up running 800 meters. I did well enough, 2:16, and then my most previous meet I had a massive 24 second PR (personal record) in the 2 mile, a 10:55. Putting runners through different speeds and distances makes them stronger and more versatile. Having the ability to mix up distances like that in the middle of the season is something that Cross Country can't always afford. Once the season gets started it gets somewhat harder to do different speed and distance workouts at practice, because you have to be careful to not tire yourself out for a coming race (there's always one around the corner). Track gives coaches the ability to mix up your speeds and distances in the middle of the season because you can do the mixing and changing at the races themselves.

To summarize: Once you get into the middle of both seasons, you can see that Track provides one with more opportunities to train, because training can take place by mixing up what races you do at a Track meet, whereas in Cross Country you're stuck with a 5k at every meet.

MORE EXCITING
This will be a short one. I have two reasons for why Track is more exciting than Cross.

First, the way a Track meet goes, there are a ton of events, and it is a several hour event. In Cross, there are usually four races for your team (Guys Varsity, Guys JV, Girls Varsity, Girls JV). With only four events in Cross, you don't get to see a running score develop. The only time you know the score is at the end when they announce the winner. But in Track, given how many events there are, every once and a while you hear the score. This can add more importance to the races as they go on, because a bad race could lose you your team's position in the standings, and a good race could increase your team's rank in the standings. This means that everyone gets really into the final races. The 2 mile and the mile relay are usually heavily cheered for, as those runners are the final few who can affect their team's scores.

Speaking of cheering, the way a track race is set up, it is far easier to get a crowd that'll cheer people on. In a 5k race, runners are running throughout a course. This means that fans would have to run from one spot in the race to another to cheer people on. Normally the only people who really go to these lengths are the parents of the runners, or coaches. This means less people will run around to find and cheer on runners, because not everyone's kid is in the same race.

But with Track, there's an oval track in between (normally) sets of bleachers, that can be filled with people cheering you on. As the races are much more accessible to fans of all kinds, a runner is far more likely to receive more cheering in a Track race than a Cross race.



Thanks for reading.
asparagus21

Con

EFFICIENCY
I do agree with you that it is far easier to measure your time when running Track than when running Cross. However, I believe that this takes some of the fun out of running. For me, when I have a set pace i simply try and match that pace. If I do not have a set pace, I simply push myself and try for the best possible time. Sometimes, this allows me to get better times running Cross than I could have gotten while running Track.

Track is more scientific and detail oriented, and Cross is just the basic essentials of running. However, this does not make Track better, it instead makes Cross better.

VARIETY
There are many different types of Cross courses depending on which school you are running at for a meet. On the other hand, almost all of the Track "courses" are the same. The material that the track is made of can vary slightly, but once you get down to the track; it is just a 400m oval.

There are more distance that you run, but once you strip Track down to the bare bones, the only difference between races is how many times you run around the same oval.

I will give you the benefit that more distances to run are better suited for different runners, but the basics of Track are still just running in an oval.

EXCITEMENT
I feel that I must completely disagree with you in this category. The fact that Track meets last so much longer than Cross meets doesn't add to the excitement, it takes away from it. I had a track meet once where I didn't get home until 9:30 (The meet started at 3:30). Some people are finished all of their races before 6:00, but they still have to sit around waiting while the rest of the team runs.

Getting cheered on may be good for some people, but I prefer to just push myself. I'll usually run with my one friend during Cross, since he runs around the same pace that I do. We'll push each other throughout the race, and that is all the motivation that we need.

I hope I have countered all of the points that you have mentioned.
Debate Round No. 2
MyDinosaurHands

Pro

EFFICIENCY
My opponent says in his response that since you get to see less splits in Cross Country, you're more likely to run faster, because you're less sure of your pace.

"For me, when I have a set pace i simply try and match that pace. If I do not have a set pace, I simply push myself and try for the best possible time."
Here my opponent cites a personal example of his running, which does violate the universal rule. Aside from that though, he has omitted to mention the downside to what he considers to be his better running style, one which he associates with Cross. Simply pushing yourself and trying for the best time, without using a pace whatsoever (which my opponent insinuates here), can easily lead to you pushing yourself at a pace that causes you to tire out majorly, and then leads to an overall slower time than what you could've had if you had chosen a pace that you could hold all the way through, but just barely.

Additionally, my opponent is omitting the fact that just because one has more splits taken while running on a track, that doesn't mean you're guaranteed to push yourself less. Runners know their bodies. If they set out at a pace and realize they're feeling great, they can go ahead and try to go faster than their predicted pace.

Also omitted is the fact that in Track you aren't necessarily using your splits to run a pace, you could be using your splits to stay ahead of a pace. If you know what your splits are from a previous race, you can try to be ahead of them in your next race in order to improve your finishing time. This involves pushing oneself, just like in CC.

Bottom line, the fact that there are more splits and precision in Track does not mean that you'll be pushing yourself less. Splits are often a guideline to success. Splits are used the same way in both sports, but in Track you can use them more, thus benefiting you as a runner.

400 METER OVAL
"There are more distance that you run, but once you strip Track down to the bare bones, the only difference between races is how many times you run around the same oval."
I can't believe that my opponent actually believes this, as he runs Track. While it is true that ONE of the differences between the different events is the distance, there is another factor, and that is speed. If you're running less laps, you'll be running way faster. It creates a different dynamic to each race, and gives each racer of the different events a specific respectability. 800 meter runners don't want to do the 2 mile because of its distance, and 2 mile runners don't want to do the 800 meter because of the sheer speed and guts it takes to run that race.

COURSES
I concede the point that the Cross Country courses have more variety, I would like to provide Cons that outweigh the Pro.
First, Cross Country courses are easily affected by weather, and in a negative way. If it rains, the courses get muddy, and when the courses get muddy, you get less traction, and thus run slower, through no fault of your own. You could be having the best race of your career, but thanks to a crappy course, you could end up with a non-PR day. How would that be fair?

Second, Cross Country courses are inconsistent. Again, you could be having the best race of your career, but you could be on an extremely hilly course, and just like that, what could have been a new personal record is now just a par for the course finish time.

Third, there can be errors in course marking and length. Unlike the universally sized track, a Cross Country course is usually mapped by a guy with a tape measurer. He can be off by only .03 miles, but that still affects peoples' times by several seconds. One can falsely be led to believe they're faster than they are, or slower than they are, depending on the errors in course-making.

EXCITEMENT
"I had a track meet once where I didn't get home until 9:30 (The meet started at 3:30). Some people are finished all of their races before 6:00, but they still have to sit around waiting while the rest of the team runs."
They can do more than that. They can talk with their friends. Anyone who has ran a race before knows that after a race, one usually feels a little more giddy than usual. So if you've run your race, and you're hanging with your friends, you'll be having a great time.

Not only that, but you can cheer on other runners as they do their events. As I mentioned earlier (and this went un-refuted by my opponent too), in Track there's a running tally kept of the score, and so each race you watch bears more and more importance as the time dwindles for your team to secure the winning spot.

Additionally, if you really don't want to hang with your friends or support them as they run, you can just leave, usually. Most teams let their runners go after their events are done, as long as a parent signs a sign-out sheet (or they're 18+).

"I'll usually run with my one friend during Cross.."
This isn't necessarily exclusive to CC.





Thanks for reading.





asparagus21

Con

asparagus21 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
MyDinosaurHands

Pro

I would request that my opponent not respond in the next round. If he does so, he can levy attacks against my arguments without me having my normally allotted response. I should not have to suffer because my opponent skipped a round.
asparagus21

Con

asparagus21 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by MyDinosaurHands 2 years ago
MyDinosaurHands
Thanks for reading. And good luck with the mile!
Posted by under_score 2 years ago
under_score
As a fellow high school distance track and cross country runner i find this debate very interesting. As My track season is coming to an end with the regional meet this weekend, I am very excited at giving my final attempt to run a sub 5-minute 1600 to end my sophomore season. I already broke my sub 11-minute 3200 goal and am very pleased. Personally I enjoy cross country more than track. I find running on hills, dirt, and grass to be more fun than up to 16 left turns in the wind and rain of the North Idaho spring. However I would agree with you (MyDinosaurHands) in saying that track is the most accurate way to test the ability of an athlete.
Posted by WheezySquash8 2 years ago
WheezySquash8
Hey, It's cool that you are a distance runner too. I would accept the challenge, but I'm busy this weekend so I wouldn't be able to dedicate the time. Good lucky though to you, and your opponent though.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by WheezySquash8 2 years ago
WheezySquash8
MyDinosaurHandsasparagus21Tied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro had more reasons, arguments, and did not convert to giving mere opinion.
Vote Placed by ESocialBookworm 2 years ago
ESocialBookworm
MyDinosaurHandsasparagus21Tied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct FF, Arguments: Con made no new arguments but rather just rebutted Pro's