Alternative Summer Training Ideas
In the mid-summer there are less running events and more social events scheduled with weddings, summer parties and BBQs in our diaries. Maybe you completed a spring marathon or a longer run in the earlier part of the year and so it can often now feel like there are fewer big events to train for, and less opportunity to train with the social side of things increasing.
This piece will give you some ideas about continuing your training in a different way, to maintain your fitness but give your body a break from simply running junk miles - and getting fed up of it.
Another reason for varying training is the change in weather. Training through the winter in the UK prepares your body for wind, cold and rain whereas the warmer weather can slow running times, leave you dehydrated and make training session seem more laborious.
This is one piece of kit that is totally overlooked in every gym I've worked in- and without good reason!
Using an Ergo or rowing machine has huge cardio benefits, and means you engage more of your upper body than you would do as a recreational runner who doesn't use any other form of exercise.
A great challenge is to row a pre-set distance (my suggestion is 1 or 2K) and see how long it takes. Then do it again a week later and aim to beat your time, form is important and this shouldn't be overlooked so always ask if you're unsure.
Indoor Boulder sites and rock walls aren't that hard to find, and an hour’s session can really leave you feeling like you've had a thoroughly good workout. Building great core strength through this callisthenic style exercise is a great alternative to dong planks every day! And letting your mind work on the 'problems' or routes to find a way to the top really does make it feel like you aren't doing as much exercise as you really are.
Many organisation now run boot camps throughout the summer, (and some more hard core throughout the winter too!) Generally sociable and a lot of laughs it can be a good way to engage more upper limb workouts and if working with a partner gives you some friendly competition
Frisbee, catch, handstands and cartwheels take us back to school days. If family commitments and social engagements are stopping you from training use these types of day trips to your advantage. Plenty of fun and a great way to keep your children involved and active.
A personal favourite of mine is taking part in triathlon training; there is still the run element but being able to train for 2 other disciplines (swimming and cycling) means there's less demand on just the lower body and a better balance of using fundamental muscles (i.e. core muscles) to keep you active.
Triathlon has been described as a "lifestyle sport", as in being able to complete each discipline within a normal week and substituting sessions inside (i.e. swimming in a pool) if the weather is bad outside.
I'm not saying every runner should take part in a triathlon, but the idea of cross training to maintain good cardio, without placing overload onto your legs is a great one.
This list is endless, and in no way am I saying stop running over the summer, just finding new ways to exercise or exercise without even feeling like you are cannot be a bad thing. So as always, let's get moving to see the benefits!