I think we can all agree that summer is the best time of year. No school, no homework, no late night studying—just three months of semi-relaxation before your college career starts.
The one thing that tends to be forgotten as an athlete who has been recruited—or plans to try out for a team—is that you have to be in shape. Otherwise, you'll be in for a rude awakening when your tryouts/season starts.
The expectation of college athletes
Coaches believe that summer is the perfect time for athletes to work on conditioning before school starts up. If you have been recruited, you will probably receive a nice packet outlining your summer regimen full of sprinting, long-distance runs, weight lifting, and more (and if you are an athlete in a fall sport, you better be even more focused on the regimen).
Summer, however, is not all about that list. You’ve got your job, graduation parties, family to see before you leave, a possible vacation or two, and a billion other things going on. Somehow, you have fit exercising into your schedule (and yes, you really need to work in those workouts). But seriously, who wants to spend their summer running up and down hills when there is fun to be had?
Spicing up summer vacation
I just spent Memorial Day weekend up in New Hampshire. For athletes on a family trip, I realized the potential they have to keep themselves in tip-top shape, but also allow them to spend time with family and friends.
The following list of activities some things I did this weekend and while I know that not everyone can actually go to Waterville Valley, I hope that these ideas might help spark a great trip idea for your friends and/or family or maybe just give you an idea of how to spice up a few days of your week in between working and chilling with friends.
- Hiking. There's nothing like getting on a trail and enjoying the fresh air. It might not get your heart beating fast as a strong cardio workout, but it's unpredictable. One moment you're walking up a steep hill, the next you're on the way down crossing a river on rocks and getting stuck in sand (true story this past weekend with me!). Use nature to your advantage and be adventurous. See a big rock? Climb it! See a bear? RUN!
- Mountain biking. Why sit in the gym on a bike when you can get into the mountains? It's not only a great workout, but totally fun. Unlike the gym, a trail with rocks, sand, dirt, and mud forces you to use your whole body to keep the bike moving and keep yourself vertical. When all is said and done, you could have biked 10 miles and not even known it (although your legs might).
- Tennis. Super simple and you don't even have to be good at it. From experiencing the sport this weekend, I guarantee this will get your heart pumping with all the back-and-forth running and quick movements. It is great for working on agility and getting in some sprints.
- Swimming. Anyone will tell you that swimming is perfect for staying in shape. Get in the lake or swimming pool and do a few laps, or tread water for a few minutes and you'll be feeling the burn the next morning. This is fun to do with friends or family too—start a swimming race, have a diving contest, or play water volleyball. And the great thing about swimming is that the water is gentle on your joints!
- Kayaking/canoeing/paddle boating. If you're not the best swimmer, like myself, you can't go wrong with a little boating activity. Paddle boats are great to get your legs moving and kayaks/canoes work your arms like you wouldn't believe. There are a lot of outdoor stores that rent out this equipment, and sometimes you can even find group trips where you can both get some exercise and go exploring!
Of course there are tons of other activities you can participate in to beat the boringness of regular workouts. It really depends on where you are and what you have available at the moment. Hopefully though, these ideas will keep you active on your vacation and not get you off course as you prepare to get ready for your upcoming season.