By: Christian Deiss

(Hurricane, WV) – This is the last week of a three-week training period allowed by the West Virginia Secondary Schools Athletic Commission (WVSSAC) for high school and middle school student athletes across the state. This is the second time that I have been involved in this training period for the Hurricane Middle School’s Cross-Country team. 

Last year I didn’t really know what to expect and realized that the time with the coaches was as much about getting to know them and my new teammates as it was about running.  I talked to Brad Reed, Assistant Director of the WVSSAC about these three weeks, “For any new student athlete coming into a program for the first time, like a sixth-grader entering middle school or a ninth-grader entering high school, these training days, just help them ease into their new surroundings.”  The training period is for all student athletes competing in any sports at their respective schools.

Something new for my squad this year is that we are also training with the Hurricane High School Cross Country runners as we all prepare for the upcoming season.  I asked the head coach of Hurricane’s squad Eric Cooper about the importance of these three weeks, “It’s all about building up your endurance as a runner sets his or her sights on the upcoming season that starts in just over a month.  The miles a runner puts in now will set them apart from their competitors who didn’t train as hard in the off season.”  Cooper knows a little bit about competing, as a high schooler at Cabell Midland he was a four-time All-State Cross Country runner and later ran for West Virginia Wesleyan College’s team and competed in the NCAA Division II Cross-Country Championships.
This three-week training period allowed by the WVSSA comes at a time when the temperature starts rising and the sun is usually overhead when we are running.  

Coach Cooper stresses to all the athletes working out this time of year to make sure and drink plenty of fluids, “It usually takes a bead experience to really hit home to somebody about hydrating, especially when the temperature starts reaching into the 90’s. If you don’t drink water throughout the day before a run, most likely you are going to cramp up and feel horrible during the run.  Even more than that, not hydrating hinders a runner’s recovery coming out of the workout.  So not only will you feel rough after the run, you will probably feel rough the next day, also.” A number of runners on my team have started using smaller hand held water bottles that can be easily carried and used during the hot training runs. 

After this three-week training period is over with it will be time to start training with the Teays Valley Track Club, which is also headed up by Cooper.  I asked the coach to tell me a little bit about the new track club for the area, “I wanted to throw the invitation out there to everyone in the Putnam County area who wants to come out and train with other runners and get ready for a 5K race.  Even though we have a lot of young competitive runners, we also have parents, siblings and friends joining in on the training, so it’s some fun training for everyone.”  The club is very informal and if anyone is interested, all they need to do is check with any high school or middle school Hurricane runner. 

So with the “Dog Days of Summer” right around the corner, along with the cross-country season, it’s time to head outdoors again for a few miles, hope to see you out there and don’t forget your water. 

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