|Redbirds set high goals for ‘09|
|Written by Ashley Schrader, Daily Vidette Reporter|
|Tuesday, 25 August 2009 19:05|
For women on the Illinois State cross-country team, taking the right strides forward – rather, toward – the upcoming season has been a work in progress beginning in late May. While preparing for the much anticipated season, the Redbirds have gained a new training philosophy and technology.
"Our philosophy has changed a bit this year," junior Kirsten Lang said. "It used to be more about the quality of our runs and now we are working on the quantity. At the same time, though, we have to learn how to balance the two."
Attributing to the new training outlook on the women’s side is the addition of incorporating heart rate monitors into some of the runs. These monitors allow an individual runner to evaluate the effort of each run based upon how fast the heart is pumping and how much oxygen is being used. The devices make it easier to understand the level of training each woman is at in addition to how hard she worked during the run.
The KNR department, with the help of exercise specialist Dr. Dale Brown, has supplied the cross-country team with over 30 heart rate monitors to be used three times a week.
According to head coach Jeff Bovee, the team greatly appreciates the cooperation from the KNR department.
The heart rate monitors allow each runner to individualize her training, meaning the mileage can be increased according to what the body, or the heart rate, will allow.
"We are trying to get a particular range [using the heart rate monitors]," Bovee said. "We are trying to improve our running economy and innovation of oxygen by running at the zone that we want to run at. We are trying to use the same system as last year, but instead we are using a more scientific approach, to ensure that we don’t over train."
The women began their summer running only half of the total mileage that they ideally wanted to end up at once the season began. Since then, they have been increasing the mileage by nearly 10 percent each week. Currently, the top runners are going about 50 to 60 miles per week, whereas the younger runners are going 40 to 45 miles per week.
"I think we are at an adequate level right now in our training," junior Jess Husted said. "It is tough though for some of our freshmen to jump into the high mileage because their bodies aren’t used to it yet. The ultimate goal, as we get older, is to be able to handle the longer runs and the higher mileage."
Although it seems that the ISU freshman women have a challenging road ahead of them, captains Lang and Husted are positive that the freshman performances throughout the season will be nothing but impressive.
"We have five new freshman and two walk-ons this season," Bovee said. "It’s a talented group and one with a wide range of abilities. Some may respond better than others to making varsity, but time will tell."
According to Bovee, freshmen Sam Bluske and Brea Tinney are looking to have a great season. Both women were state champions in Wisconsin.
"We have really high goals this season," Husted said. "We only lost one girl from our top seven last year, and we definitely have some strong freshman. Compared to the other teams in our conference, I think we have a better structure going. Our team wants to win conference."
The women on the cross-country team are anxious to get back to racing and fortunately for them, Sep. 4 is just around the corner. Both the Illinois State men and women runners will be competing in the Illini Open to be held at the University of Illinois.