SHOUTOUT TO BRENDA MARTINEZ FOR MAKING THE OLYMPIC TEAM IN THE 1500! I LOVE YOU!!
Today is my baby brother’s twelfth birthday! I remember the day he was born at home; my other brother and I watched Blues Clues and tried to ignore what was going on upstairs. I can’t believe he’ll be a teenager in one year!
I made him a special birthday smoothie (complete with whipped cream) and received a giant hug when his Pokemon birthday present turned out to have a rare card of some sort…clearly I’m a Pokemon expert 😉
Aside from that, this off day from work has included a hilly workout (20 min w/u, drills, fartlek of 7 minutes-5-7-5 with 2 min jog in between, 20 min c/d), rereading The Thief Lord (a childhood favorite) and sorting out some financial and academic stuff for the fall semester. Which is in a little over a month! YAY!!
A couple weeks ago, one of my teammates shared this post by Sports Bras and Coffee, and she had some really good points. It got me thinking, and I thought I’d share some of my own thoughts and some of my teammates’ tips (mostly learned from making the mistakes ourselves) on finding the balance between building a good, sustainable base and overtraining during the summer.
As you know, since I’ve complained/exulted about it in every training post this summer 😉 , my mileage has gone up a lot in recent weeks. After a low-mileage high school career (pls ignore the horrible eyeliner in that post- I went through a phase), I built up from 30 to 40 miles last summer, then 45ish during freshman year of college. At each mileage level, I couldn’t imagine running more than I was running at that time!
This summer, when our coaches sent out the training plans and mine listed “60 miles” consistently, I knew it was going to be unlike anything I had done before. There have been some days lately where the last thing I have wanted to do was go on yet another run. While obviously you’re not going to feel great on every run, it’s definitely not good to feel like that all the time! It’s all about pushing your body to the limit while still finding balance.
So without further ado, here are some summer training tips.
- Listen to your body. I know, so cliche. Obviously, you want to be following the training plan given by your coaches, but if one day you have a double and your body feels horrible during the first run, it is okay to skip the second one and take a nap or do some yoga instead.
- Fuel properly. Especially pre-run and breakfast. I don’t know about you, but I do most of my summer runs in the early morning to (try to) avoid the heat and humidity. Going out for a 7-to-12-miler first thing in the morning with nothing in your system is a bad idea, no matter who you are. Try to eat/drink something high in carbs and non-acidic before your run, such as a banana, toast with jelly, or half a bar. Additionally, if you’re training in the morning, eat a good breakfast afterwards! Aim for something high in protein and complex carbohydrates to recover optimally and take advantage of metabolic gains. My go-to breakfast is oatmeal with egg whites, yogurt, fruit, and nut butter.
- Sleep. It might not be easy to go to bed at 10:30, or earlier, when a lot of people are staying up all night partying, but if you’re training 20 hours a week on top of maybe having a job or an internship or something, you need all the sleep you can get. If you find yourself unable to get enough sleep at night (like if you get home from work at 11 and wake up at 5:30…hmm sounds familiar), power naps are the shit. Seriously. If you have a spare 23 minutes during the day, take a power nap. They are awesome. I slept for an hour before my double yesterday afternoon.
- Do not hammer your runs. It’s May/June/July. You have big goals for the cross country season, and you’re super motivated right now. BUT the goal is to peak in November! If you don’t take it easy on some of your runs, your body will not recover, and your base will not be sustainable.
- Honestly, eat whatever you want. As a serious athlete, most of the time you’ll crave wholesome, healthy food, so “whatever you want” will usually be a healthy balanced diet anyway. But do indulge to an extent over the summer because a) it’s not racing season and b) it’s not healthy or helpful to be stringent about what you can or cannot eat. This is the time to find a relaxed balance with nutrition. It’s mentally unhealthy to try and sustain unnecessary, rigid eating rules from June until November with no deviations.
6. Drink water. All the time. If you live in an insanely humid area like I do, make sure you are hydrating, especially in the morning! I try to drink 2-3 cups of water before I go out for my morning run and then keep a 32 oz Nalgene with me throughout the day. (Don’t overhydrate, though, which can drain sodium levels. Make sure you are replenishing your electrolytes, as well.)
If anyone else has any other tips, feel free to chime in!