I spend my summers working pretty hard. And I do mean at work. So when I look up and see how close September is, I get a bit of vertigo. Partly because I love the long hot days of summer (yes, even the ones in New York), partly because I can feel the squash season approaching, and partly because I know I’m not quite as ready as I wanted to be at the end of last season.
But the good news is that it’s cool enough now to get out on the road and stretch my legs. Later today, I plan to be somewhere on that splendid path beside the Hudson, trying to see if I can run a few miles. The first few times it’s more about remembering how much concentration it takes to keep putting one foot in front of the other, how much harder it is to run on solid ground than it is on a treadmill, and how critical steady breathing is. This is where I am for the first four or five runs, assuming I can get out two or three times a week.
After that, things start to change pretty quickly. Pace-wise, stride-wise, breathing and focus. And I start to feel YES. I start to put on a bit of weight, energy levels go up, joints start to feel snug. All good. This year, I am going to limit myself to about 40 minutes running, and add some calisthenics and stretches. This is more about balance than science: my personal goal is to feel great on court, not necessarily to win the nationals… As a young player, believe me, I had routines and regimens aplenty!
Having said that, if you are also looking towards the season and wondering how you can get ready for it, I have one piece of advice: keep records of your training. Start now. It is the only way for you to know for sure that you are on track, that you aren’t skipping workouts, and that you are making progress.
There are a lot of programs out there for doing this. One that I have just found is called micoach, from Adidas. It’s got all sorts of tools to help you plan your workouts, maps for roadwork, advice, a calendar…oh, and lots of hype about their products (whaddya gonna do?).
Anyway. I hope you have been having a great summer and that you are itching to get on court with friend and foe alike!!