In high school I was a multi-sport athlete, soccer and a little cross country in the Fall, basketball in the Winter, and cooking and restaurant management competitions in the Spring (yes, I actually lettered in culinary). Although these were distinct seasons of training and competition, there was also a great deal of cross over and transfer of skill and fitness from one season to the other. In the Summer I did a little bit of everything. Sometimes this meant dribbling a basketball on an 8 mile run or reviewing flashcards while doing a stationary bike workout. It also included time dedicated to improving speed, agility, and strength, which would translate to any sporting activity…if you haven’t tried it, making whipped cream by hand requires strength and speed.
Despite a few rare occasions when cross country races fell on the same weekend or day as a soccer game, during the Fall, Winter, and Spring I could fully commit to one sport at a time. I could build on the fitness, strength, skills, and habits from my other activities to make me a better athlete, teammate, and competitor, but didn’t have to worry about keeping all my tools sharp all year long.
Believe it or not, you can earn a varsity letter in culinary. We won more state and national championships in restaurant management than in all my high school sports combined.
In the last 3 to 4 years I’ve transitioned into being a distance runner all year round. 2015 brings the exciting opportunity to return to being a multi-sport, multi-season athlete. In the last several months, I’ve found that the strength and fitness I gained in preparing for obstacle and trail races translated into overall improved running performance. Certainly, improved running fitness and strength supports obstacle and trail racing as well. I’m excited to use the strength, fitness, and lessons I learned in 2014 (check out my previous posts on lessons learned in 2014) for track, trail, and obstacle racing. But I’m also looking forward to a focused track season in the Spring, followed by a focused trail and obstacle season in the Summer and Fall. I’m excited to sharpen specific skills for the type of racing I’m doing at different times of the year.
So who cares? What does this mean for you? Whether you’re a multi-sport adventurer, year-round soccer player, 100% distance runner, full time mom, artist, musician, business owner, or teacher, I want to challenge you…What is this season’s focus? What is this week’s goal? How can you make what you’re doing today better?
We often spend so much time worrying about and trying to prepare ourselves for something in the distant future, that the quality of what we’re doing at that very moment suffers. When I think about the major track races in June, I often forget that there is a whole lot of training, racing, and fun opportunities between now and then. There are a lot of details I need to focus on today, this week, this month, if I want anything a few months from now to be successful.
Have you ever had those runs where you start thinking about everything you have to get done that day or week and gotten so overwhelmed that any hopes of achieving that runner’s high were shattered?
When this happens to me, I’m much more likely to cut the run short and skip out on foam rolling and stretching. Or have you ever started to worry about tomorrow’s workout when you’re only half-way done with today’s? I don’t know about you, but my brain often gets way too far ahead of my body. If only our bodies could move at a million miles per minute! But I try to think of the words of a great coach…”Enjoy the process.” When you’re doing a morning workout, watching your kids’ soccer game, eating lunch with a friend, nothing else really matters. That strength training planned for later in the day will probably happen, the laundry will get done eventually, you’ll get that last little bit of work done even if it means staying up 15 extra minutes. But worrying about those things only detracts from what you’re doing right now. I’m laying out my plan for the upcoming year and then trying not to look too far ahead.
Winter is my season to build basic strength, speed, and fitness that will support my training and racing in all the other seasons. So, first and foremost, I kicked Winter off with a break from training. Now with my body and mind refreshed, I will use January and February to race a little indoor track and most likely my first Atlas Race. In March, my teammates and I are off to the Gateriver Run USATF 15k Championship. After that, track season will be in full swing…looking to make some leaps and splashes in the steeplechase. Then for some Summer fun with a mix of trail, mountain, and obstacle racing. Here is my tentative Winter and Spring race schedule.
|January 31||University of Washington Invitational|
|February 14||Husky Classic|
|February 28||Atlas Race SoCal|
|March 14||Gateriver Run USATF 15k Championship|
|April 18||Oregon Relays|
|May 2||Payton Jordan Invitational|
|May 8||Oregon Twilight Meet|
|June 14||Portland Track Festival|
|June 26-28||USATF Championships|
Since I’m focusing on Spring for now, the details of my Summer and Fall racing schedules aren’t finalized. But it’s fun to have a few longer term plans to look forward to. I’d like to fill my Summer and Fall with lots of trail and obstacle racing.