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Hawkeyes not limited by winter weather

BY AMY TIFFANY | DECEMBER 17, 2010 7:30 AM

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Blustering winds, chilly temperatures, and winter weather haven't stopped the Iowa women's track and field team's distance group from completing runs and workouts outdoors.

At least, not yet.

Only temperatures that register below zero and extremely icy and slippery conditions stop the group from running outside.

McKenzie Melander, a junior from Apple Valley, Minn., said the only two things that will keep her from running outside when she is home for winter break will be the temperature or if the sidewalks aren't plowed, creating conditions that are too slippery.

Head coach Layne Anderson, who is in charge of the distance athletes, said the group has now entered the next phase of training for the indoor track season.

"[We're] building strength and stamina," Anderson said. "Still while trying to take advantage of getting outdoors, even though the winter months are here."

The phase, Anderson said, is a foundation similar to training at the beginning of the cross-country season. Junior Betsy Flood calls this phase the basework. This also includes weight lifting twice a week.

The work the Hawkeyes are completing now is the necessary groundwork to avoid injuries after break when speed and work on the track will come into play.

Anderson's group has split into two groups: distance and mid-distance. Right now, the runners are completing similar workouts, but after winter break, their training will move in different directions.

Iowa's overall winter training philosophy is simple.

"We really use strength-based [training], focusing on building stamina, endurance, physical and mental strength," Anderson said.

He said the shift in focus to speed work happens around February.

Iowa will continue similar basic workouts over winter break and before the Hawkeyes begin moving into the competitive season when they come back from vacation.

But it isn't really a vacation from training.

The runners are expected to work out seven days a week. During their roughly three weeks away from Iowa City, they have to complete workouts on their own unless they have teammates who live close by, or other resources, such as friends or family members available at home to train with.

Anderson said the Hawkeyes are "at the mercy of the weather."

Their goal is to come back healthy, in shape, to not lose any of the fitness they gained over the summer and fall from the cross-country season, and perhaps even gain a little more stamina, Anderson said.

This year, he said, he is not worried about the squad getting its workouts completed as he has with teams in years past.

"There's not really the option of not doing it," Flood said.

Senior Lauren Hardesty said over break one has to be a lot more disciplined.

"You're always wondering what every other team is doing," Melander said. "They're all training, so I should be out there, too."


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