Iowa women's cross-country team trains through heat

BY LEVI LYNOTT | AUGUST 29, 2012 6:30 AM

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Iowa temperatures averaged more than 6 degrees higher than the average this July, but even though the weather was the hottest in the past 15 years, the Hawkeye women’s cross-country runners didn’t let the summer heat get the worst of them. They were able to find ways around it to continue preparing for the season.

“Coach gave us a training plan, and I followed that to a T as much as I could,” freshman Lisa Gordon said. “Some of the days that were really hot, I did the longer workout in the morning and the shorter one in the afternoon. And if [the heat] was really bad maybe cross training for that shorter one [indoors].”

Some of the Hawkeyes even saw the rising temperature and lack of rain as a way of better preparing themselves for the season, including sophomore runner Shannon Maser.

“Training outdoors [in the heat] definitely builds mental toughness,” she said. “If you can get through a run in the 95-degree heat, you can definitely get through a run later in the season when it’s 65.”

Maser, who is from Stillwell, Kan., said that because of a hip injury — she said her hips are “out of place” — there were a lot of indoor workouts going on over the summer as well.

Head coach Layne Anderson did, however, recognize the dangers of the heat and told runners to make the proper changes when the temperature was rising.

His advice to players wasn’t much different from other summers when considering some athletes have work or other obligations in the afternoon — typically the hottest time of the day. The easiest thing to do, he said, is to complete training first thing in the morning.

His other advice was focused on the proper precautions and maintaining healthy diet.

“Mainly, be smart,” Anderson said. “Don’t overdo it, do something foolish, and suffer a heat stroke or heat illness. Sometimes you don’t bounce back from those things immediately. There are certainly days where it can be dangerously hot with the humidity.”

Another alternative to get away from the heat was working out late at night. This was the strategy employed by sophomore Jocelyn Todd.

“Mostly because I had class and work in the morning and throughout the day, I would come home and it if was really hot that day, I would wait until 7 or 8 [p.m.] to run.”

Many Hawkeye women’s harriers have used different routes to get around their own lifestyle and schedules as student-athletes. But after all, the logic of summer running is clearly based on avoiding the hottest afternoon hours.

Anderson said that throughout the summer, the main and most obvious point is keeping conditioning away from the most intense heat.

“If it’s going to be 110 [degrees], you obviously can’t run at 3 in the afternoon,” he said.

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