Competing Against the Cold: Athletes Take on Their Winter Workouts

By Kristine Auble

Image from oprah.com

Image from oprah.com

Even though the temperatures are dropping, athletes at this university plan to raise their heart rates this winter as they continue training over the break. Whether their season is coming to a close or they are preparing to compete this spring, athletes must modify their workouts in order to adapt to a winter training schedule.

In preparation for their upcoming seasons, spring athletes dedicate most of their winter break to training. These athletes, unlike other students, do not consider the end of the semester as time off because their practices begin immediately after the holidays.

Nikki Chung, a freshman enrolled in letters and sciences, is on the women’s gymnastics team. Her break, like other spring competitors, is cut short due to her athletic commitment.

“I go home to Australia for one week then I have to be back at the gym for the rest of the break for pre-season practices,” Chung said.

Similarly, sophomore pre-vet major and softball player Lindsey Schmeiser said her training starts long before her first game.

“We train heavily over the break because the season starts in February,” Schmeiser said.

Having practice from mid December through January not only involves time commitment, but it also means athletes will have to adjust to winter weather conditions. Some sports cannot continue outdoor practice with temperatures below freezing. Henry Gillen is a coxswain for the men’s club crew team and a freshman aerospace engineering major. He explains that because the team cannot row on the river in icy conditions, the men must take their workouts inside.

“From 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. we’ll be in the weight room, then we’ll head to the erg room at Cole Field House to row steady state indoors,” Gillen said.

While most athletes plan on training inside, others must brave freezing conditions.

David Kabelik, a member of the men’s soccer team and a sophomore engineering major, explains, “Even though we’re in the post-season, we still have two games a week. We’re outside all the time. It’s rough, but you have to do it.”

Practicing outside in the winter weather puts these athletes at risk for injuries ranging from muscle strains to conditions more serious, like hypothermia. To ensure their safety, they take extra precautions when training outside.

“In the cold, we make sure we warm up entirely before we start practice and wear jackets and sweatpants when necessary,” says women’s soccer player and sophomore kinesiology major, Aubrey Baker. “Also, our cool down is more extensive in order to prevent injury.”

Just as the seasons are changing, these athletes are altering their workout plans to maintain their fitness over winter break. While other students cozy up by the fire, athletes face strict schedules, intense workouts and brutally cold weather. For University of Maryland athletes, this winter will be anything but a break.

 

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