'WHAT ARE YOU DOING ON YOUR SUMMER VACATION?
[updated from May 15, 2016]
The 18th and last week “Half Marathon + ‘SAINTS DAYS’” Training Plan, which spanned January to May, has nearly been completed. Participant runners will have accomplished their long-distance goal races soon, and be in recovery mode for 2-3 weeks.
WHAT’S NEXT? I tend to feel happy but a bit let-down after finishing such a long training plan. The feeling is comparable to the famous “show-hole” that’s was made fun of on a TV ad last year. https://www.ispot.tv/ad/Aw_U/amazon-fire-tv-show-hole.
Both running-holes' and 'show-holes' are nothing to laugh about (well, maybe just a little). They are periods of time in which our schedules are perhaps uncomfortably wide open and there isn’t a programming slot or a workout to which daily or weekly activities are anchored. As much as there was to complain about getting in every weekend’s long run, not having it to do now creates a void.
Many elementary school children and their parents must deal with a wide-open summer annually. Some elect to register for summer music, sport, or theater camps to help break up the long stretch between June and the end of August. And enjoy a family vacation. High school and college students take summer classes, enroll in travel-abroad study programs, or find jobs to earn extra spending money.
Remember that feeling when your friends had plans to go away or were lucky enough to be occupied with fantastic activities, and your entire summer promised to be a boring blank.
The problem with running- and show-holes is that they both appear just as the summer begins, a time many of us associate with fun and enjoyment of the outdoors. That’s not to say we shouldn’t be happy to relax in the sun and not have every day planned weeks in advance.
Lack of planned fitness activities can lead to anxiety about exactly how to enjoy these “carefree” days. It’s an effort to come up with novel recreational opportunities daily/weekly on the fly. Without a plan, at summers end there’s potential for disappointment when, in retrospect, nothing fun, exciting, or mildly awesome took place; nothing that would help write that elementary school report about summer’s happenings.
Parents no longer worry about our summer schedules; we haven’t been signed up for little league baseball, day camp, vacation bible school, the local pool’s swim team, weekly arts and crafts hour at the neighborhood park, or night-at-the-museum sleepovers. It’s up to us to make summer the magical time we dream it can be.
Earned Runs suggests that to fill a ‘running-hole’ you consider planning activities that represent ‘challenges’ to your usual routine. For example, if summer is a time usually spent training for a yet another goal long distance race in early fall, spend this summer racing frequently in a series of fun vacation-style 5Ks and 10Ks. Train just hard enough to be prepared after summer to build-up to that longer goal race in the mid-to-late fall. Follow a relaxed schedule that allows you to compete at those short race distances and enjoy the special places you visit. Search for scenic small town events with fewer rather than larger participant numbers, and in which last-minute, on-a-whim registration is possible.
Or, train for a middle-distance bicycle tour or hiking adventure. Attempt to become a morning runner, if night time, after- work or school runs are becoming difficult to make. Join a running group that regularly holds beer runs. Take strength workouts to the beach or park, in the hours of the day before the crowds arrive; bring a few different weight dumbbells and use benches and picnic tables to perform various exercises.
To simultaneously FILL THE ‘SHOW-HOLE’, try audible books. You can listen as you run, hike, cycle, or exercise. The “Game of Thrones” books by George R.R. Martin contain so much more intrigue and detail than the HBO series; it will prepare you for the new season that starts in July. Let the famous reader Jim Dale take you through all the Harry Potter books. “Read” the classics of Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Twain this summer. Just as in your exercise life, you can challenge your entertainment routine as well.
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
New! Search Box
Earned Runs is now searchable! Check it out...