Battling through the elements

The women’s track & field team distance runners prefer training in the cold.

Runners Megan Schneider, (left), Andrea Mathis and Danielle Britton jog at Geasey Field last month. | Jenny Kerrigan TTN
Runners Megan Schneider, (left), Andrea Mathis and Danielle Britton jog at Geasey Field last month. | Jenny Kerrigan TTN

The past week’s record-low temperatures in the Northeast have been enough to keep almost anyone off the streets and inside their homes. However, the women’s track & field distance runners often don’t have that luxury.

“Thirty degrees, for them, is like nothing,” first-year coach Elvis Forde said. “The distance runners handle those conditions so much better because it’s ideal. The explosive nature of their event is not like a sprinter, jumper or hurdler, so you can do a lot more things outdoors with that group.”

Now only a few days away, Friday’s American Athletic Conference Championships are inching closer for the Owls. This will be the last indoor meet of the season, taking place at the New Balance Track & Field Center at The Armory in New York from Feb. 27-28.

Since there is little time left for preparation, Forde said he continues to emphasize the importance of taking care of one’s body both on and off the track. This includes daily practice routines, as well as nutrition and anything else that needs to be addressed to ensure the body stays healthy.

“I’m one of those people that believes that nutrition plays a key role in performance success, and in training success as well,” Forde said. “You work so hard in the day training, and then if you don’t supplement the body back with the different food groups that you need, then we’re working against ourselves.”

The issue at hand remains the frigid temperatures that have swallowed the Northeast. Due to lack of indoor practice facilities, the distance team has to make do with what is available to them.

This could mean taking a ride to a local park or running trails, running on the streets of Philadelphia, or even shoveling out a lane of the outdoor track for speed workouts.

Either way, the team heads outdoors.

In the current conditions, senior Jenna Dubrow said the focus on taking the necessary step to help prepare the body for facing such cold weather becomes vital.

“Since it is so cold, you do have to take specific measures to make sure that you are protecting yourself against the cold,” Dubrow said. “For instance maybe warming up a little extra, wearing layers of clothes to make sure your muscles are warm, [or] maybe doing those couple extra drills before your workout.”

The distance runners incorporate other types of aerobic activity into their workouts like cycling and swimming.

The team also incorporates weight lifting to build upper-body strength, something freshman Katie Pinson said is often overlooked in terms of importance.

“I think strength is important even in distance running,” Pinson said. “Even though it’s not quite as power-intensive, it’s very helpful to have stronger muscles on your side.”

While physical training and fitness are key for preparing for such a big meet, Dubrow said there is also a mental aspect of preparation that needs to be taken care of, as well, by “focusing on your event, picturing yourself being in the race and just really honing in to your training and putting all of your efforts for focusing on that meet.”

Dubrow will be running the 3,000- and 5,000-meter runs in the last indoor track & field meet of her collegiate career on Saturday.

“I want to go out there, just run for myself and basically just give it my all in the last meet,” Dubrow said, “and show myself that I’ve gotten better and carry the confidence into outdoor [track & field], too.”

Distance coach James Snyder said motivation is not an issue for for his group.

“They know the expectation and they know how important this meet is to all of us,” Snyder said. “It doesn’t take a lot to get them excited because they know how big this is. The hard work is done, the last week is more about mental preparation and race planning.”

As the final days of the indoor season wind down, Forde said his team has shown that it is ready to represent Temple at the conference level.

“I think we are as ready as we can be,” Forde said. “We are going there looking forward to making some strides and making some big strides in our expectations.”

Tyler Device can be reached at

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