12 things to keep in mind while you advance in your cross country summer training.
- Don’t get over excited too early and lose motivation as the summer becomes more challenging and busy.
- Do be patient and let your body gradually adjust to the increasing training load. Start slow and increase mileage gradually.
- Don’t run a race every weekend.
- Do avoid the urge to test your fitness and jump into that 4th of July 5k. This early in your preparation for racing, you should focus on building your base and not testing your lactate threshold.
- Don’t go to the beach all day and expect to have a good run in evening when you get home. Sun exposure will sap your strength and if you’re not conscious of hydration levels and electrolyte intake, you could be setting yourself up for a sluggish evening run.
- Do plan ahead and perform your training run in the morning. Get it out of the way so you can fully enjoy the beach and time with friends.
- Don’t drink only sugared drinks. When it’s hot, nothing tastes better than an ice cold Gatorade or fizzy drink. A Gatorade a day won’t hurt you, but don’t over indulge, water is what your body really needs.
- Do keep tabs on the amount of water you consume and make sure it makes up the vast majority of your liquid intake.
- Don’t eat only french fries and pizza. With All the fun summer trips it’s easy to let your diet slide as the convenience factor plays into your meal choices.
- Do plan ahead and pack healthy snacks to keep you on the right track and make sure your body is receiving the required nutrients it needs for adequate recovery between runs.
- Don’t run midday. Running midday during the summer is asking for trouble. The hours between 11am – 4pm are the hottest of the day.
- Do try to run earlier or later so that you can avoid the direct sunlight.
- Don’t skimp on the supplemental activities. Summer is the best time to get into good habits and routines for the upcoming season.
- Do stick with your stretching and core strength routine during the summer months. If you don’t already have one, summer is a great time to get into the habit while your body isn’t too taxed from harder workouts.
- Don’t wear the same shoes for every run.
- Do buy 2-3 pairs of running shoes to rotate through over the summer. Try different models and rides, so that your feet and lower legs can experience different foot strike patterns and degrees of support. This is a great way to prepare your body for racing in flats and spikes so you you won’t experience fatigue and soreness come race day.
- Don’t be oblivious to your surroundings. The warmer weather brings out all types of people.
- Do be aware of your surroundings, and alert. Particularly if you run on secluded roads or trails. Keep your eyes and ears open. Try to run in a group whenever possible, or at least in popular public spaces.
- Don’t run alone every day.
- Do try to meet up with a fellow teammate or a friend at least a few times a month to take the monotony out of the training. Summer cross country training can be lonely at times as most of the runs are generally solo. Take the effort to meet up with someone you like to increase enjoyment.
- Don’t run the same route every day.
- Do try to switch things up on a regular basis and map out a couple new routes every so often. If your location prevents many options, try to do a destination run at least twice a month with a friend to keep things fresh and experience a new setting.
- Don’t overthink it.
- Do allow yourself to have fun. Summer training can be one of the best training periods of the year, as you have plenty of time to gear up for the upcoming cross country season. Take your time and do all the “little things” that give you a confidence boost. Also, be explorative and try new things during the summer. It’s the perfect time to experiment in your training and try new tactics for maximizing your training output.
In summary, the most important take aways are to plan ahead, be flexible and allow yourself to have fun!
Stay cool and safe, and I know you will all have many memorable runs this summer! -Steve