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Topic: Body - June 05 2024
Dos and Don’ts of Summer Training

The summer months can be blissful and stressful for athletes. We should focus on finding balance and remaining motivated during the “off season,” while not over exercising or changing our behaviors too drastically. In the end, let’s enjoy our summer and have fun working out!

By: Charlotte Tomkinson

VIS Creator

& Jana Fogaça, CMPC

VIS Expert

Topic: Body

June 05 2024

The summer months can feel like a blessing and a curse for high school and college athletes. On one hand, student-athletes get a taste of normalcy and a much needed break from their hectic schedules. However, time away from a familiar routine can be difficult, too. Some athletes lose motivation to stay fit over summer, while lack of supervision allows others to dangerously overtrain. Here are some of our “dos and don’ts” to keep in mind this summer season, with advice from VIS Expert™ Jana Fogaça!

DO have (and stick to) a plan

Work with your coach or do your own research to create a training plan. Setting one in advance will make it easier to follow later on because you have already decided what to do. Now you just need to execute! Remember, you’re an athlete, and success in sport requires sacrifice and practice. 

If you find yourself unmotivated, make it social: complete workout packets with teammates in town, train with an old club, or go to a gym to surround yourself with other athletes. Sometimes, just visualizing teammates working out or setting goals can get you out the door. You know better than to expect results when you haven’t put in the work, so use the summer to set yourself up for success.

DO enjoy the summer

Summer is the time to fall back in love with your sport! Get outside! Go for a run, or swap the gym equipment for the bike or pool. Try a new workout class or stretch and roll outdoors. If you’re traveling, walking and running are great ways to explore a new place. Relish the opportunity to take your time, be intentional with your movements, and find joy in them! Take extra care of your body to keep it feeling refreshed and healthy.

Reminder: take advantage of this down time! Pick up a hobby, spend time with friends, get a job, or just sleep in. Seek fulfillment from things unrelated to sports and allow yourself to enjoy the freedom of summer. 

“The same way that we need energy for the physical side of sports, we need energy for focus and motivation too.”

Jana Fogaça, VIS Expert™ and consultant in sport and performance psychology

DON’T go overboard with training

All athletes need time completely off exercise to recover at the end of a season. Fogaça reminds us: “we cannot go 4 years (or more!) without rest: a pause to reset and recharge.” This break isn’t just an extra rest day, but a meaningful chunk of time off to let our bodies rest. Though it can be uncomfortable to feel like we are “losing” everything we built in season, de-training now will allow us to build back stronger later.

After time off, it can be tempting to jump straight back to our usual in-season intensity. Resist the urge! Having a plan is particularly beneficial here, to hold ourselves accountable and prevent spur-of-the-moment overexercise. A plan can also ease guilt or anxiety for athletes who stress that they aren’t doing enough. Don’t risk injury or burnout for the sake of a few extra workouts in July.

DON’T overthink

As athletes, we’re used to being in “grind mode” 24/7, but it’s important to capitalize on rest when we do get it. “The same way that we need energy for the physical side [of sports], we need energy for focus and motivation too,” Fogaça says. There are times to lock in, and times to back off. Without mental time off now, we risk fatigue and burnout later, in Championship season. “That’s when you want to be the strongest, but you’ll be running out of energy.”

Try intentionally compartmentalizing your day to allow yourself a mental break. Bring your running shoes on vacation, use the gym at your hotel, or workout early before work– then move on! You can be an athlete, without your whole life revolving around it; be conscious of not letting sport consume all your mental and emotional energy. 

Finally, allow yourself flexibility to enjoy summer, without stressing about your workout tomorrow or competition in two months. Finding joy in things unrelated to sport does not make you undedicated, nor will it change how prepared you are for your season. It’s important to train appropriately and stay in shape so you’re ready in the fall, but just as crucial to find balance, calm, and time for enjoyment.

Take Action

Apply these dos and don'ts into your daily routines this summer to put yourself in the best position to find success during competition season!