For most people, late spring and early summer means BBQ season, cute white clothes, juicy peaches and lots of swimming.
For runners, this time of year signals one thing: the start of training for fall marathons. We know that gutting our way through heat, humidity and family vacations will make us stronger and faster by the time the calendar changes to Autumn.
How do we keep the training fresh and enjoy our summer at the same time?
Explore running in new places
The summer season is the perfect time to change up your training routes and try something new. Even if your plans don’t include a trip to Provence, you can still breathe life into your training. Drive to a new location outside of your city or town on the weekends for your long run, look up local new to you trails, or simply run the same route backwards if running short on time.
Add local races to your schedule
Summer is the perfect time to race more often, as there are races to chose from almost every weekend. Instead of just focusing on weekly miles, plan to jump into a few local races to tune up your speed game. This will give you something to look forward to and break up the monotony of training.
Step out of your comfort zone
Get out of your rut – if you run with the same group every weekend, try running alone and really focusing on the solo aspect of training. Run every training run by yourself? Find a few friends or a brand new group to train with.
Concentrate on an area that normally goes by the wayside
Do you run all the miles and neglect your core? Make a plan to focus on that area this training cycle. Look up core exercises on line, download a video or take a new class.
How’s your strength training? If your free weights have a layer of dust on them or you don’t own any—invest a small amount of money and add strength training to your routine a few times a week.
Too tired for yoga after a long week of training? You don’t have to leave the house for a class, there are many on line class available, or simply add in a few yoga stretches after a run (downward dog, pigeon, happy baby, warrior, child’s pose and legs up the wall are great ones for runners).
Try new foods
We are all guilty of going on a run, coming home and having the same refueling snack. It’s quick and easy and many times we don’t take the time to plan new options. Start a new training cycle with researching snacks that you haven’t tried before. How about papaya or fresh figs in your smoothie? The farmers market is so popular in summer and a great way to shop for new ingredients for a post run snack. Remember, to get the most out of your training, it’s important to eat something nutrient dense with protein within the first 20 minutes after a run.
These are just a few ideas to keep your marathon training fresh and fun.