The sun is up past 8pm, peaches are plentiful at the grocery store, and baseball is our current dinner-time entertainment…..it must be summer.
Summer is a huge part of cross country training – it’s where all the mileage builds up our aerobic base for the competition season in the fall. So I thought I would start a Sunday “Summary” series of the week’s schedule. (I’ll post them all to the Fitness Page.) Here we go! This covers the week of June 17th. The top row of each day is at 5am before work; the bottom row is after work, usually around 6pm. Let me tell you, working out every 12 hours gets confusing and makes the days fly by faster than vacation!
As the miles are multiplying, I thrive on a schedule and organization. It’s helpful to have a clear plan for fitting in the day’s training (remember last summer”s Peak Week Schedule?)
Knowing I’d be spending about 8 hours running this week, I just downloaded a dozen new songs to keep me entertained. You know what that means…..new playlist in your future The most important part about double-day workouts is hydration and sleep, to me. I find myself guzzling water at work, finishing about 48 oz at my desk each day. Another huge part of sustaining energy through the week is getting a minimum of 7 hours of sleep at night. Otherwise, it’s hard to summon the motivation to pound some pavement after a sleepy shift and trafficky car ride. H2O + ZZzzz = happy runner
Despite a hectic schedule, I gotta say I honestly LOVE summer training. The more miles the better, right?! This is my 7th summer of cross country training, and it’s shaping up to be my best yet. Summer before freshman year of college, I had a serious hip injury that prevented me from running July through September. Similarly, last year I underwent the first of a series of facial surgeries that took months to heal and consequently resulted in my forfeiting yet another cross country season. This year – nothing is going to stop me from finishing the season. Heck, just starting the season would be an improvement. I’m already pumped for some competition and ready to see what this summer’s efforts will turn into.
Sunday afternoon means I can erase the schedule of workouts after completing the whole list and start to plan out the coming week. Now I’ll enjoy the rest of this Father’s Day watching some good ole’ baseball with my dad! (He’s for the Yankees, I’m for the Angels….so far it’s not looking too good for me.)
Happy Father’s Day!
Ever since I can remember, nights that my mom went out with friends became “Daddy-Daughter Date Night.” Every few weeks, my mom would leave my dad and I behind while she met friends for dinner. We would either pick a restaurant or cook something together, then pick a movie or run an errand. When I was little (read: not a health-nut yet!) we would get ice cream or wait up for my mom to bring us back dessert.
Now, our “date night” has evolved into evening workouts at the gym together. Some people might think that sounds more like a chore than fun, but we like exercising and I honestly have just as good a time at the gym. With such a tight schedule, a double day at the LA Fitness is usually inevitable. The last two nights my mom has been gone, my dad and I swapped out a movie for a strength session. (I cannot believe how CROWDED the gym gets after 7 o’ clock! It’s a party in there!) We are lucky to find a matching set of weights, so last night I opted for a medicine ball workout, taking advantage of having a partner.
*All exercises explained below (also on any fitness website):
(Does this picture look vaguely familiar to the Essentials Workout? It’s all about recycling!)
1. Decline Sit-Up Throw: use a declined bench if you can (if not, sitting on a swiss ball works too). Have a partner at your feet toss you an 8-10 pound medicine ball; hold the ball to your chest while you extend your back to the bench; throw the ball as you sit up. Repeat x 20 and switch places!
2. Kneel-to-Push ups: It’s a 2-for-1! You get (girlie) push ups with an explosive throw. Start out with one partner kneeling, facing the other who is standing about 6 ft away. Kneeling partner: Throw the medicine ball (explosively, from the chest) and let your body fall into girl-style push up position, complete a push up and return to kneeling. Catch & Throw the ball; Repeat x 15 & Switch.
3. Single-Leg Balance Toss: obviously, the heavier the ball, the more difficult the exercise. Trying to maintain balance while throwing and catching = good for the core! This one is pretty self-explanatory – face each other, a decent distance apart. Stand on one leg for 20 tosses, focusing on balance more than the power of the throw. Switch legs!
4. Back-to-Back Pass: Don’t get dizzy! Touching shoulder blades (having a height difference could make this a tad tricky…), pass the ball from left to right with each other. Keep your arms extended without locking your elbows; keep the ball up at about shoulder-height. After 20 passes, switch directions!
5. Throws from the Chest: not that this one needs too much of a description, but make sure to use some force and push the medicine ball out. Slightly squat as you catch it back. 20 tosses = 1 set.
Repeat this set three times, or more if you’re feeling ambitious! Along with partner exercises, you can also include:
- Russian Twists
- Slams (Get the frustration out!)
- Around the World
Grab a buddy and get sweaty! (Cheesy but it rhymed.. )
Check out the FITNESS page for other workout routines
If you’ve been around for a while, you might remember my challenge on my dad’s 50th birthday: to ride a Half-Century together. The fifty-mile bike ride would prove that age is just a number and not an excuse to stop challenging yourself physically! I’ve been at school and training for track, so it’s a little over-due. But we made sure to get it done before he turns 51!
Our bike path was a 25-mile stretch of the Santa Ana Bike Trail from Yorba Regional Park to the Huntington Beach Pier. We stopped briefly at the beach before turning around and riding right back. We started out weaving back and forth with some jacaranda trees on the sides. Just to keep things challenging, we went under at least two dozen freeways, like little intervals of building up momentum on the down hill and pedaling hard back up the other side. We also had a few surges to pass some slow-pokes, but mostly we were the slow-pokes being passed. Even though I thought our 14 mph average was pretty solid, most of the other people out that Saturday morning were serious riders with road bikes (and polka dotted spandex suits….). We used our mountain bikes, which is at least better than my beach cruiser that doesn’t even have gears!
Fuel: this is one area where we failed. I’m so ashamed! Knowing we were going to be intensely riding for approximately 4 hours, we should have packed some better energy-providing snacks! We both downed a cup of coffee before jumping in the truck, and ate a few apple slices one hour in. But as we approached the pier, I realized we should have brought some sort of gel or shot blocks, plus some oranges/bananas. We at least had a protein bar, which kept my belly from growling until we finished. A cold bottle of Powerade waited, which I know contains an excessive amount of sugar and wouldn’t have been my first choice of post-workout nourishment but we needed something in our bodies! When we arrived home we had chocolate berry protein smoothies and a nice long NAP.
Half way in, we were along the beach; I LOVED being among so many people out walking, running, biking, skating. It smelled like campfires, easily one of the best smells in the world (up there with fresh coffee ) we stopped for a protein bar and some fruit but didn’t sit down. We didn’t want our legs a chance to get tired or sore yet with another 25 miles to ride!
Total Distance: 50.26 miles. Total ride time: 3 hours, 45 minutes (I forgot to pause my Garmin watch while I stopped to take some pictures). Total time with breaks: 4 hours, 15 minutes. We weren’t looking to break any records, so we’re pretty pleased with our time!
The half century was also just an awesome experience to do with my dad. We were on the struggle bus that last ten miles, mainly out of discomfort rather than exhaustion. (Bike seats are not ideal for sitting on for hours!) But there was never a moment we considered stopping. Neither of us would have let the other! A few years ago we finished a Mud Run in Irvine together, going through different obstacles and getting dirty. And I’m sure we’ll have another “challenge” in the near future! These will totally be some of the memories we look back on together.
Can’t wait to do the full century when he turns 100!