Picture this: Summer has arrived, school is out and while you’re running along the Lake Michigan trail one for your fellow running mates is a member of DePaul’s Track & Field and Cross Country Team. Just like other students, they’re trying to relax and stay active.
As DePaul classes finish up and the school year comes to a close, that doesn’t mean the work of the school’s athletes fades away. Summer for them means a couple months to have a change of pace before the fall approaches. The members of the Track & Field and Cross Country team find themselves away from the tight regimen of practice and back to embracing the freedom of what they love most: running.
“The running taking place over the summer isn’t necessarily easy but more relaxed,” freshman Jeremy Lozano, who is a member of both the Track & Field and Cross Country team, said. “Where as during the season, which was fall to a couple weeks it was practices a couple times a week which can be tough on the body. But summer gives time to meet up with other track team members and go run at forest preserves. One my favorite is Waterfall Glen it’s got nice flat gravel and hills which you should take advantage of.”
Lozano has high standards for himself this upcoming Fall season. During the track and cross country seasons Lozano runs the 1500 meter and 8000 meter distances He wants to utilize the summer and it’s at ease pace as an opportunity to prepare for his sophomore season in a healthy state. In just one year he was able to shave 15 seconds off of his mile time.With such an achievement under his belt, it’s promising to see what a summer of refining skill could mean for the fall.
The freedom of the summer brings the space and opportunity to nurture the body and refine skill for some athletes. Sophomores Scott Arsenault and Lauren Sharp, who also run both track and cross country, will be using the summer to prep for their leadership roles they hope to fall into in the coming season.
“I’m looking forward to trying to get to regionals next year,” Arsenault said when thinking about his goals after a summer away from campus. “I can’t wait to just throw on a pair of split shorts and get out and run outside in the woods, it’s more enjoyable.” Arsenault looks to the summer to re-center himself for the upcoming year. The team bringing an indoor and outdoor gold medal would be great for the entire team. Arsenault wants to break records in 4×800 race in his upcoming junior year. Tohim it would mean alot, right up there with taking down Bradley and Marquette University.
As for Lauren Sharp, going home over summer has it’s perks and downsides. Being surrounded by her team gives her motivation and the feeling that her running state of mind is understood.
“I’m gonna miss practicing with my teammates over the summer. While it’s going to be great to be back in Iowa, having those running partners for motivation will be missed,” Sharp said. “I sometimes will have to make friends or family ride a bike alongside of me while I run a 5k, because not everyone is trying to do that. It can get lonely, but after this summer I know for sure my nerves will be gone because we have a big freshman class coming in and since it’s my third year it’ll be a great leadership opportunity. I’ve always been the one to look up to people, so it’s going to be having to drop some knowledge. But it’s nice having the summer away from all that because it’s just building miles and being relaxed.”
It seems camaraderie of being surrounded by teammates makes the copious amounts of running bearable for the track and cross country athletes during the school year. However, it’s undeniable that the summer allows them to flourish so that they come back better than ever to potentially bring home the gold next year.
If non-athletes want to train like a DePaul track and cross country athlete this summer, the city offers plenty of ways. The eight-mile stretch from Montrose Beach and Navy Pier is frequented by both teams for practice. Arsenault recommends the Bullfrog Lake trails for those looking to get away from the typical lakefront trail. So take the opportunity the summer provides to buckle down and run away the stress of the year, students and athletes alike.
Training like an athlete
Tips from personal trainers at the Ray Meyer Fitness Center
- Train in the morning or evening to avoid overheating if you choose to train outside.
- Training with a partner helps hold you accountable to your workouts and makes it more fun and enjoyable.
- Be patient with yourself and realize that true fitness is a lifelong process, not an overnight quick fix.
- Get adequate hours of sleep every night. Sleep is just as important as nutrition and exercise.
- Nutrition is vital to improving overall fitness. Don’t let food become the enemy, instead of going on a diet, think like an athlete — Imagine food as fuel. Your body is a machine, if you put junk into it, it won’t run properly. You must refuel with nutritious foods that will enable you to perform and workout to your best ability.