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Women harriers move out

BY MICHELE DANNO | MARCH 12, 2010 7:30 AM

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With the snow mostly melted around Iowa City, the Iowa women’s track and field team can finally head outside after competing indoors.

After what they deemed a strong indoor season, members of the squad said they have been progressively making the necessary adjustments to competing out in the elements.

“The first thing we did was had a very successful indoor season, which sets us up for a better outdoor season,” Iowa coach Layne Anderson said. “We want to build upon what we did this indoor season, and we’ll certainly be able to get outside more now that the weather has gotten nicer.”

While some of the tracksters have seen the light of day during practice this week, others on the squad have been training outdoors all along.

The ability to train outside year-round differs from event to event. Anderson, also the distance coach, said his runners can train in almost any weather, and ice is their only real deterrent.

He said they use dirt roads to reduce the possibility of injury during snowy winter months.

Yet sprinters and fielders face logistical barriers that forced them to practice under the roof of the Recreation Building from January until now.

“Training outside in winter is not advisable because sprinters are built a little different from distance runners,” Iowa sprinting coach Clive Roberts said. “It’s more explosive in nature, so there’s a chance for harm when you’re trying to push your body. Cold weather could hurt you.”

The women also said they are excited to get outside and “shake out the legs a little.” Many of them agreed they prefer outdoor season to indoor for a number of various reasons.

They stressed the outdoor track is much larger than the one in the indoor facility, and the extra space allows for fewer laps and less chance for injury.

Senior distance runner Hannah Roeder said the reason she prefers running in the spring is because her main event — the steeplechase — is not offered on an indoor track.

Other events are added or modified from indoor to outdoor as well, and the tracksters must make the necessary adjustments to prepare for the new competitions.

For outdoor season, the mile becomes the 1,500-meter run, and the 3-kilometer race turns into 5K and 10K. On the sprinting side, the 60-meter dash becomes the 100-meter dash, and the 400-meter hurdles are added.

For throwing, the weight throw from indoor season is replaced by the discuss, hammer, and javelin.
But coaches agreed they train the women to be prepared for any event, and their practices are not specific to whichever season they’re competing in.

Sophomore McKenzie Melander said the transition from indoor to outdoor is an easy one, and the Hawkeyes just build on what they accomplished inside.

Anderson said he expects the team to have a stronger outdoor season than last year. For indoor this year, the Hawkeyes finished ninth in the Big Ten — one place up from their last place finish in 2009.

“We’re not putting all our eggs in indoor,” Anderson said. “Every year, we want to have a good indoor season, but we want an even better one for outdoor. I think we’re in a good position to accomplish that goal this year.”


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