By: Cassie Henkiel 

With summer here and my last ‘race’ – the USATF Master’s 10k Road Race Championships on June 3rd – of my season behind me, it’s play time! Typically, I wrap up my racing by June or July. However, the Austin summer heat and humidity seems to challenge my motivation to train at any intensity as well as to physically recover.

I always use cross training in my training. At some point, I”ll incorporate it if it’s needed within my training. For example, I”ll cross train when it’s time for a mini-break or when I’m injured. I also use cross training as a supplement in the on and off season. I believe for anyone active, it’s a must!

Right now, it’s all about taking a break from the usual structured running schedule and more about my idea of play fitness and fun. When I’m off the training schedule, I feel so free! I’m 42-years-old and have been competitive since college. There’s been many years there of training, structure, discipline and intensity with my athletics. Now is the time to have a built in season or break. If you train and race year after year without any breaks, at some point in time you’ll face burn out.

So, what does my play look like? My summertime looks like trail runs and and low-key track races. In my down-time, I seek out runs with friends I don’t run with on the regular. I road bike, aqua jog, swim, kayak and stand-up paddle board. I take spin classes, do yoga, and spend time in the gym to build strength, power and agility. There’s so much to choose from and I love it all! Since my life is so structured everyday with work and training, I embrace the summer with its flexibility. This is the best time of year to truly enjoy this freedom of fitness. It has a slight resemblance of summer as a kid. Then you remember your damn JOB! Never mind. 

My advice for those of you who find yourselves doing the same ‘ol same ‘ol in your training and fitness: change it up!!  Seriously, Austin has way to much to offer in the great outdoors and indoors for you to not to get out and explore. So get out and play!

Happy summer!


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