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Men’s cross country preps for heart of season with varied workouts

BY MARIO WILLIAMS | SEPTEMBER 11, 2014 5:00 AM

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Iowa men’s cross-country head coach Layne Anderson describes the typical workout for his team with three words:

Pace, rhythm, and strength.

The team runs a variety of workouts that include running up hills off campus and running inside at the Field House. One or two days out of the week, the squad also lifts weights. Anderson said he likes to challenge his team by running on different surfaces as well as changing speed.

“These are the things the guys will encounter in most cross-country races and certainly in the big ones at the end of the year,” Anderson said.

Each workout is approximately 40 minutes in duration, excluding warm-ups. Anderson preps his guys not only for the season but for each specific meet. A typical first race is between 24-26 minutes, and the second race is typically 29-31 minutes.

“I have to prepare them to race for that specific time,” he said.

As a team, this is the fourth week the Hawks have trained together. Although the squad has yet to practice with full intensity, Anderson thinks that this is the time for the Hakweyes to build their training throughout the season.

During the month of October, the team is more intense in the workouts. With each workout the harriers undertake, and with the one meet they’ve run so far, Anderson believes the meets are a true indicator of the runners’ fitness level.

“The meets are a good evaluation of our fitness,” he said. “It shows how we’re doing and what we need to improve on.”

Prior to regular-season training, the runners also prep in the summer, in which the guys build up their mileage, fitness, and strength. Unlike regular-season training and workouts, summer training doesn’t take place every day.

“Summer training is where we try to build up the routine so that the guys are consistent,” he said.

Senior Ben Witt believes he put in a lot of good work over the summer. He ran every day during the week, typically two runs a day, sometimes with teammates. Witt described the runs with his teammates as “tempo runs.”

“Tempo runs are between your regular pace and your race pace,” he said. “You run hard; you know you’re pushing the envelope but you’re still under control.”

Summer training went well for Witt, he said, and season training has been great as well, especially with teammate Kevin Lewis.

“We kind of like to hammer it together,” Witt said. “The workouts are really good in showing where you’re at.”

In addition to the team’s workouts, freshman Michael Melchert runs around Iowa City by himself.

“On my easy days, I like to run by myself to get more miles in,” Melchert said, noting that when he runs with the leaders on the team, it helps him push himself.


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