WHAT ARE YOU DOING ON YOUR SUMMER VACATION?
The 18th and last week of the Half Marathon + ‘SAINTS DAYS’ Training Plan, which spanned January to May, will soon be completed. Participant runners and walkers will have accomplished their long-distance goal race by the end of this week and should be in recovery mode for 2-3 weeks.
WHAT’S NEXT? I tend to initially be elated and relieved only to experience a let-down after finishing such a long training plan. The feeling is comparable to the sadness of a “show-hole”. This slang term, which is said to have been invented by Amazon Fire and made fun of on a TV ad in 2015, describes the sense of emptiness that follows the ending of a favorite TV series. ‘Show-holes’ can be potentially be filled by another series. There’s always one more to become engrossed in and to binge-watch once you’re hooked.
However, I’ve never quite recovered from the conclusion of the Harry Potter book and movie series of the late 1990's and 2000’s. Coincidentally the finale of the HBO Series, “Game of Thrones” is scheduled to air this Sunday evening, May 19, which is sure to generate a show-hole for its numerous faithful viewers.
TTRAINING HOLES can occur with the completion of huge, multi-month preparation efforts. I’ve never trained for a marathon, but this post-race period would seem to be the perfect set-up for a major let-down.
Both show-holes and training-holes and 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 daily workout to which other weekly activities are anchored. As much as there was to complain about the necessity of completing each weekend’s long run, walk, or tough training session, not having to it do now creates a void.
Many elementary school children and their parents must deal with a wide-open summer annually. Some break up the long stretch between the start of June and the end of August with a variety of music, sport, or theater camps. Or schedule stays with distant relatives. High school and college students take summer classes, enroll in travel-abroad study programs, or find jobs to earn extra spending money.
I recall moments of painful realization that, at the start of many summers of my youth and early adulthood, my closest friends were going to be traveling or involved in fantastic activities while I stayed home. Employed as seasonal labor at a variety of jobs, my vacations always seemed to be boring blanks rather than glorious breaks from routine. It couldn’t be helped; I needed to work to save money for upcoming school years. Although written and released long after those days, I came to consider the song “Cruel Summer” as theme music for those sad summer times.
The problem with training-holes and show-holes is that both may appear just as the summer begins, a time many associate with fun and enjoyment of the outdoors.
Lack of planned fitness activities can lead to anxiety about exactly how to enjoy these “carefree” days and other issues. It’s an effort to come up with novel recreational opportunities daily or weekly on the fly. Additionally, at summers end there’s a potential for even more disappointment when in retrospect nothing fun, exciting, or mildly awesome took place. Nothing that would help write that classic elementary school report about the season’s happenings, “What did you do on your summer vacation?”
Although adults without children at home may not feel the need to construct a schedule for themselves, perhaps it’s a good idea to establish one for exercise. Especially for those prone to summer depression.
Team sports like softball, baseball, kick-ball, and volleyball, as well as golf and tennis offer organized league activities. Those who enjoy running, walking, cycling, and fitness training might investigate special outdoor adventures that differ from the usual competitions of fall-winter-spring.
Earned Runs suggests that to fill a ‘training-hole’ you consider activities that ‘challenge’ tired old routines as well as physical fitness.
For example, if summers are usually spent training for yet another long-distance goal race that’s months away in the early fall, use 2019 instead to run/ walk/cycle frequently in a series of fun vacation-style 5Ks and 10Ks. Choose events held in quaint settings, with celebration themes, or spectacular views.
Take it easy; train just enough to be prepared to build-up after summer to take on a 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.
Train for a middle-distance bicycle tour or hiking adventure. Attempt to become a morning exerciser if nighttime or after-work sessions interfere with summer socializing. Join a group that has a social purpose. 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 a 'reading-hole’, try audible books. You can listen on the go, 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 that its conclusion may not be so painful. 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.
Earned Runs will highlight several 2019 SUMMER CHALLENGES that might appeal to the kid in you that still wants summer to be special and magical. There will be follow-up posts to help kick-start planning.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
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.
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