Temple runners adjust training to record summer temperatures

The Temple University cross country team had to train by themselves in one of the worst heat waves the nation has seen in a long time this summer.

Temple University Men's cross country runner Erik Kain last year at the AAC Championships I COURTESY TEMPLE ATHLETICS

This summer, the United States experienced its sixth-hottest July on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. While many people can stay indoors during hot days, many of Temple University’s athletes still had to train outdoors while preparing for their upcoming seasons, including the Temple cross country team.

Temple women’s cross country often tries to avoid resting too often in the summer before getting back into shape for the fall cross country season.This year, the team trained in record-breaking temperatures in June and July, while working to stay in shape in anticipation for the Fall season.

Cross country is a non-contact sport between a runner and the terrain, so harsh conditions outside a runner’s control can hinder any jog or a race. Oftentimes, collegiate and professional runners prefer running outdoors rather than indoors, so the body can prepare itself for races, especially those that are under harsher weather conditions. 

“During the heat I was still running outside, hitting the pavement a lot,” said sophomore Erik Kain. “I’m not a huge treadmill guy.”

There were several times this summer when running outdoors was a safety hazard for those trying to train outside, according to the American Red Cross. However, the team used timing to safely continue their training.

By running early in the morning, Temple’s cross country team prevented injury risks and trained in conditions similar to the temperatures during their races in the fall. But even with the cooler morning weather, they still took some precautions. 

“You’ve got to beat the heat,” said new cross country coach Charlotte Imer. “As the heat climbs, your body reaches a higher heart rate faster.”

Whether it was in Wisconsin, New York or Pennsylvania, the runners experienced different heat indexes throughout the months of June, July and August forcing them to stay hydrated.

“If you don’t drink enough water, you’re losing weight and you’ll feel so fatigued all the time,” said sophomore Tyler Fauvelle. “The transition was like I need to get a ton of water in.”

By knowing their bodily capabilities, the runners each have different levels of required hydration to reach their base heart rate, Imer said. 

The runners, most of which train in their hometowns during the summer, kept pace with their training in June and July before Imer was hired in August. 

The mens’ and womens’ transition to working with Imer and coach Collin Zeffer, respectively, has been smooth because each runner prepared during the summer during strenuous conditions, Kain said.

Each member of the team was able to improve upon their weaknesses because of the individualized approach, Kain said. Kain was able to focus on his hydration patterns and building muscle. 

“Everyone was kind of doing their own thing,” Fauvelle said. “I came back August 5, but I’ve never felt that hot on a run back here.”

Heading into the cross country season, the heat wave may not be as intense during the race season, but race days will have higher temperatures on certain days, especially during September. 

“Weather is going to be a part of our sport,” Kain said. “In general it is just about staying patient and knowing that it is consistent efforts, not necessarily consistent big mileage, big workouts or running fast every day.”

Temple’s first meet is at the Lehigh Invitational on Friday in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. 

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