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Summer Spice-Up

So it’s officially summer time and we are feeling the warmth of different life

rhythms. It’s time for vacation, World Cup soccer, adventuring and time in the sun.

Many people are taking this time over the summer to escape the indoors and get

back to the outdoor activities they love. But this poses an interesting question for us

endurance athletes: should we spend our time on the usual exercise pursuits or

expand out into something new? For those of us who are marathoners, should we

continue to devote exclusive energy to running and training?

The summer allows us some luxuries that winter does not – in that we are now

having more hours of daylight and time to be with friends and family outside! This is

a great opportunity for us to try a new athletic pursuit or to try an activity we

haven’t before. For example, maybe you use this summer to play more basketball

with your kids. Or maybe you want to pick up disc golf or kayaking. The summer

allows for these different pursuits – but are they wise in regards to our ultimate

goals for running or triathlon?

The research would tend to indicate, yes! By utilizing multiple sports or exercise

modalities, you are actually making yourself a more well-rounded athlete. By

playing basketball with your kids you are building lateral strength and also

plyometric tolerance. By kayaking you are building upper body strength which

endurance athletes are often notoriously lacking. This will carry over to your

running or training when you get back into the groove in the fall, and you will thank

yourself for it. These sports are just examples of the benefits you can hope to obtain

from getting outside of your comfort zone.

In fact, when studies examine young athletes that specialize early and do not play

multiple sports, they show a definite decline in performance for the future. (Side

note – your kids should be playing multiple sports year-round to be a better

athlete). Sure, we are no longer kids trying to specialize in baseball and play in the

majors, but these benefits for multiple sport participation can be extended to us as

well. Exercising in different ways is like adding money into your body’s piggy bank.

The more you add, the more resilient you are to injury down the line.

In summary, get out and try something new this summer. Take the pressure off of

yourself to strictly adhere to your training regimen. Who knows, you may actually

find a new passion!

Here’s to summer!



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