Hoosiers Running Well at Camp (8/24/04)
Bloomington, Ind.-- On Sunday, August 23, the Indiana men's cross country team departed for its annual training camp in Albion, Ind., at the Chain-O-Lakes State Park. Although the first official practice started last Tuesday, it was the first day that head coach Robert Chapman had all of the team together.
"Camp is always a nice start to the season," said Chapman. "There is a team bonding aspect to being at camp, plus the park has some very nice trails and surprisingly comfortable cabins."
Of the five guys who ran in the NCAA Championship last year, three of those five came to IU for no scholarship money and two of them still are receiving no scholarship aid. Because of the situation, Chapman's approach to pre-season practice has to be a lot different from other sports.
"Last week there were still some guys who are up in Indianapolis working 10 to 12 hour days on paint crews, then running 12 miles afterwards," said Chapman. "I had to be really flexible."
The Hoosiers, who finished 12th at the NCAA Championships last season have a blend of athletes and are stacked with talent.
"This is a unique year for our team, in that we have eight new freshman to go along with the nine returnees we have," said Chapman "This camp has been important to let both of those groups get to know each other a little better. There are always unique personalities within any group, and this group certainly has its share. They all seem to be getting along well."
As far as training goes, Chapman reported that things seem to be right on track.
"For the upperclassmen, camp is always a time where we look to make the final step to our peak mileage for the fall. It is a good environment to be able to do that, with the trails and low stress of being away. For the freshmen, camp is a good time for them to get introduced to our philosophy of training and experience some things first hand. We are always patient with the freshmen, but sometimes it is hard to get them to see the big picture and have the same level of patience. With that, camp is a great learning experience."
Chapman also said the team uses the camp as a time to lay out some individual and team goals for the upcoming season.
"While we certainly have a talented group that could be successful nationally, it's a very fine line we have to walk" commented Chapman. "We know that we must stay healthy -- one or two injuries to key personnel and we are a drastically different team. The other unique thing about our sport is that we have two other championships later in the year, with indoor and outdoor track. So in terms of designing a training plan, we can't simply focus on the cross country season without looking at where we want to be in the winter and spring as well."
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