September 26, 2017
As fall sports prepare for tournaments and conferences, coaches evaluate strength and conditioning strategies to help their athletes be successful in their sport.
This philosophy is no different for the men’s and women’s track and field teams, according to Brandon Masters, head coach of the men’s track and field team.
Track and field athletes go through a rigorous conditioning process that has come to be referred to as “six weeks of hell,” according to Masters. Members of both teams condition for four days a week for six weeks to get in shape for the new season.
Training includes strength circuits, which involve flipping tires and swinging sledge hammers, on Mondays, speed training on Tuesdays, tempo endurance and Thursdays and hills on Fridays – the hardest day of the week. Weight training is also included on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
“It’s really hard. We work on a lot of new things that track and field kids haven’t been exposed to previously,” said Masters.
“For the first couple of weeks, the athletes are pretty sore because they probably didn’t train as hard as they should have over summer break.”
According to Masters, athletes who condition over the summer have a much easier time adjusting to the training.
“We are all coming back from summer, and we get sent summer workouts so that we are in as much shape as we can,” he said.
Masters stresses the importance of summer workouts, especially for returning runners.
“The returners try to do as much of the workout as possible because it does make the first six weeks easier,” Masters said. “Those that are highly motivated and do very well in the summer are so far advanced at this point than some of our new freshman that heed our advice and don’t do the summer workouts.”
According to junior sprinter Nicole Morpurgo, these six weeks are the most difficult time of the season for athletes in physical, mental and emotional ways.
“As a group, you have to get used to your classes and your schedule again with training,” said Morpurgo.
At the end of the six weeks, the athletes are tested in the 400m and 800m events, according to Masters.
“The majority of them [tests] are for the power athlete like jumper or the sprinter,” said Masters.
Looking back on last year’s season, Masters said that members of both teams have grown in terms of leadership. Upperclassmen athletes are now more aware of the coaches’ expectations after competing as part of the team last year.
“Last year was a big learning year for the athletes because they didn’t know us; they didn’t know the program,” he said.
“The freshmen, who are all talented, can then learn from the athletes who were here last year, so we are seeing a much faster progression. I think we will perform at a much higher level than we did last year,” said Masters.
The first meet of the indoor season will take place on Dec. 8 at 1 p.m. in Golden, Colorado.