Today has been one of those really productive days. I got up early and started the day with conditioning exercises, which I’m trying to do every morning now that my schedule is a little more manageable. I thought I would share my daily exercise routine with you, because they’re the sort of exercises and stretches that when done regularly make a dramatic difference to your technique. I got many of these exercises from Clarissa May’s YouTube videos, which I highly recommend! I just modified them to suit me, combined them with some of my own, and compiled it all into a routine I can do every day.
This routine is designed for someone who is already relatively strong and flexible- if you find any of these too hard right now, just modify them to make them easier or swap that exercise/ stretch for a less intense version. If you’re super strong and flexible, you can find variations on these exercises to make them more difficult. I find that this takes me between 90 minutes and 2 hours to complete- I allow 2 hours so that I don’t have to rush. I have the luxury of being able to do these in the morning, because I live opposite my ballet school and don’t have to be in until 10am, but any time of the day is fine- the key is doing them every day, or as many times a week as possible! I do my exercises after getting ready for class, but before breakfast.
Butterfly stretch; lean forward with a straight lower back. Hold 30 secs. Frog stretch 30 secs. Keep legs in frog and arch back into seal stretch, hold 30 secs and lower. In frog, try to lift right knee 5 times, then left, then both. Bum stretches If there’s room, start sitting up with legs straight out in front. Open legs to middle splits, roll forwards and bring legs into frog behind. Reverse and repeat 3 times. Use theraband to practice lifting and lowering leg to passé with resistance. EXTENSIONS
Middle lunges to both sides, and middle splits, holding 40 seconds each Go to barre (or chair etc.) and use hand to help lift leg as high as possible, keeping hip down and legs straight and turned-out, and ribs in. Let go of leg, then let go of barre. Repeat other side. Side plank on each side, adding 5 seconds every day. SPLITS (I have added extra time for my left leg as this is my less flexible leg and I am working towards evening them)
Lunge right leg front 30 secs. Lunge left leg 40 secs. Sitting hamstring stretch 30 secs. Seal stretch 30 secs, then child’s pose 30 secs. Middle lunges again, 10 secs each side. Hold middle splits for 1 minute. Stretch to the right side and hold for 30 secs, then the same on the left. Walk forwards and hold for 40 seconds. Straighten knees completely, lifting feet to stretch hyperextension (Do NOT do this if you do not have naturally hyperextended knees as you will cause damage) Hold right leg front splits for 1 minute. Flex right foot, hold it (/pull upwards if knees are hyperextended) and put head on leg- hold for 30 secs. Stretch backwards as far as possible and hold 40 secs. Repeat left, but hold splits for 90 seconds instead of 1 minute to begin with. Start stretching over splits on something small, and keep increasing in size. ARABESQUE
Seal stretch as far as possible 30 secs Arabesque lifts, facing barre/ chair lift leg as high as possible in arabesque maintaining turnout, straight knees, pointed foot and hold back up. Lift and lower with control- start with 10 and increase. Repeat other leg. Slow back lifts lying on the floor- start with 10 and add. Lift back as high as possible, put arms in 3rd position (or 5th) and hold for 20 seconds. Add 5 seconds every day, then when it’s easy, add holds in with the back lifts. Back lifts in frog stretch positon: start with 10 then add. Seal stretch, bend knees, grab ankles and try to put ankles on shoulders. I can’t actually do this yet but I try every day! Stand facing barre and pull leg up behind you into full standing split. Let go and try to hold- repeat both sides. For needle: right-leg front splits, lean back and grab left leg, pulling head towards that back leg. Be very very careful not to pinch your back doing this. Repeat other side. Child’s pose 1 minute. Then stand up, slouch the shoulders a lot and lean to one side- you should get a great back stretch. JUMPS
30 plie- releves 20 ankle rolls each way, on each foot Downward dog: lift right leg to 180 degrees and pulse for 30 secs, then repeat left. Then grande battement in this position, lowering with control, 20 times on each leg. FEET AND POINTE
Roll out bottom of feet with foot massager or tennis ball Stretch calfs and achilles Standing on a balance disk, stand on 1 foot with the other in parallel sur le coup de pied and rock slowly from ball to heel for 30 seconds, then repeat on the other leg. Add 5 seconds every day. Sit on the floor with legs out in front. Wrap a medium or thick theraband around toes. Point and flex 10 times each foot. 10 point and flex, keeping toes down and just moving ankle. Point and flex 10 times keeping toes lifted in demi pointe. 20 circles each way. Winging 10 times each foot. Scrunch up a towel or cloth using only one foot, then the other. 20 arch lifts each foot. 40 releves in 1st poition, then 20 on each foot with the other foot in a turned-out sur le coup de pied position. Stand in 2nd position on demi-pointe and shift weight from side-to-side, pushing the toes off the ground, 30 times. 30 tendus to each side. PUT POINTE SHOES ON
Walk through shoes in parallel, then bend knees, roll on to pointe, straighten knees and lower slowly, 10 times. Repeat in 1st position. 20 releves on each foot with the other foot in a turned-out sur le coup de pied position. 20 releves in first position. 20 tendus to each side, working through the shoe, then when foot is extended in tendu, spring from demi to full pointe. Do 4 sets of 8 on each side. Push over the shoe, holding for 30 secs, then straighten knee but try to keep foot in position. Repeat to other side, and front and back both sides. Cross one led over the other and plie in parallel to stretch foot, keeping weight over big toe, Repeat other foot. Remove shoes and stretch calves. Now you’re done! You can do part or all of these exercises, but do some every day and you’ll really notice a change. Don’t forget to drink loads of water during and after! In addition to these exercises I’ll do at least one 90 minute class a day, and on some days when I have the time I try to do another workout, such as a run, swimming, pilates or the gym.
Since I get asked this a lot, I figured why not make this wonderful convinient one-stop shop for all my wonderful and supportive followers? :D This page will be periodically updated.
First of all, everyone is different. I want to stress the importance of sticking what works for you. This is what worked for me, and I hope you find what works for you. :) You can also find everything I did every day since December 2013 when I first made this blog if you go under my “diary” tab on desktop.
I credit all my accomplishments in the year of 2014 to my change in mindset. The most important principle if you want to achieve anything in life is happiness. If you don’t enjoy what you do, then you won’t do it so you won’t improve. Pain is a major barrier for most people. Associate that with happiness because pain is an indication that you’re achieving all that is possible in that given moment and isn’t that just fantastic??
I would also like to stress the importance of sleep and recovery. When I start feeling something, I shut it down and cross train until it’s completely gone. I also take at least one rest day every week. On rest days, I’ll go on a short 20-30 min walk with my mother or lightly cross train.
Part one: Running!
You can find my thoughts/reflection of each season on the “about me” tab if you go on my blog on desktop.
This is so important to me: I love races because I love making friends from other schools. Ever since I started going up to people and introducing myself and warming up/cooling down with them. Now races seem like I’m not running against people, I’m running with my friends and we’re helping each other to achieve our goals. People are no longer intimidating.
I ended cross country 2013 with a 9th place finish at Junior Olympic Nationals in San Antonio and took a two week break from running. When I take breaks from running, I always cross train. I find it difficult to go through my days without doing anything because exercise feels liberating to me. During this time, I swam almost every day since it was finals week and school ended earlier and winter break, so I had time. I also ellipticalled/went on the strider machine at the YMCA, What I’m doing this year is also relatively the same.
When I got back to running, I started my first week alternating between 2-3 miles each day, and the next two weeks 3-4 and slowly up from there. It’s important to build up slow so you won’t get injured since your body isn’t as used to using those muscles again yet.
For the month of January, it was just mileage and no speedwork. In track, we tend to do more speedwork on the track, rather than hill repeats. We’ve done less than 5 sessions in the hills throughout the whole season. In the beginning of the season, we started with longer workouts, more focused on building a strong base. By April/May, the workouts got shorter and faster.
In January, I also swam on the weekends and cross trained on my stationary bike at home since I wasn’t running as much. Cross training really helps build base without the pounding on the pavement of running.
An example of a workout we did in Febuary would be something like 1600/1200/800/400 twice through. To be honest, I know this might be important, but I never really pay attention control what pace I run, so I always run however I feel like. We would also do hill sometimes and long runs in the hills. I don’t remember any my splits, but if you’re ever curious, everything I do is recorded under my “diary” tab.
Our hill repeat workout is always relatively the same. We use the same 400m hill and run it 5-6 times with 400m recovery jog. I usually run continuously but some people rest in between.
This is when racing season starts. When racing season starts, I stop cross training and only run/blogilates until the end of the season. We did lots of 1200/800/400s and hill repeats here and there. I started with my season with all PR’s! I ran my mile in 5:20 (previously 5:38) and 2 mile in 11:16 (previously 11:48) and I was so happy and pumped about the whole season!!
We also did lots of 1200/800/400 but less hills. During March/April, we typically have a dual meet on Thursday and an invitational on Saturday, so we probably did one or none workout a week. I plataued this month, staying at around 5:20/11:16
Suddenly at league finals I ran 5:08 (8 second PR in one week) and 11:04 (10 second PR) all in one day! I was thinking happy thoughts the whole time during the race! I’ve never doubled 1600/3200 before and this gave me so much confidence. The workout on the Tuesday I did right before CCS Finals on Friday when I ran 10:54 was 8x400 with one min rest in between each one, to kinda simulate the race. I think I averaged around 73-75.
I took two weeks off from running again and swam almost every day. I swam almost every day the whole summer since I had time. I also biked a lot on my stationary bike. I usually attended summer cross country practice in the morning and went swimming in the afternoons for most the days this summer.
I attended a Nike cross country camp at Stanford and met and ran with lots of cool people! I noticed that almost everyone had a garmin, or some kind of watch that measures and times the distance you run. I also attended another camp, Coach Dudley’s summer cross country boot camp, and met lots of runners from the CCS section! I highly recommend that camp to anyone that lives in my area because I had a great time making friends my competitors. Coach Dudley is a really passionate and experienced about distance running and he also sends great information regarding training and nutrition. I can tell he’s doing this from passion.
Lots of people there also owned garmins, and I thought it was so cool how it would beep at every mile and give you a split, I was inspired to get one myself. After getting one, I noticed that I run all my runs a lot faster since it’s so satisfying to see nice numbers. My goal was to get all my runs under 8:00 pace.
During the whole summer, it was just mileage and no track workouts. I also ran in the hills a lot, and I heard that hills are speedwork in disguise, but I never ran them hard. I ran an average of 4-5 miles a day. I cross train for longer than I run because it helps me build up my cardiovascular system without all the pounding on my legs to reduce injury.
I ran a road race for the first time, called the “Dammit Run,” which is a 5 mile hilly and rocky course up a dam and down. I won my age division (2nd female overall) with a 6:43 pace and even ran one of my miles under 6:00 and I thought that was so cool since I didn’t feel like I was in race shape at all and my garmin really motivated me throughout the whole race.
When school and official practice started, we mostly did hill repeats, and I think we only did one track workout for this whole month.
I had to miss my first race because I felt something in my hamstring and decided to be smart about it. I took four days off and a week later, we had a meet at our home course, and I ran close to my PR.
When racing starts, I stop cross training and only run. My mileage is also slightly higher. We mostly did hill repeats and minimal track work this month.
Same as September, but more track work towards the end.
The hill repeats have disappeared and all workout days were all on the flat track. We did long intervals, in contrast to track season. We did 1.5-2 mile tempo runs, (actually the first time I’ve ever done a tempo run), mile repeats (5:35-5:45 avg), and my favorite: 1600/1200/800/400 twice through.
My runs also got slower as the season prolonged, averaging 8:30 pace in contrast to the under 8:00 paces over the summer. I think my coach really likes really distinct easy and hard/quality days and I think it works for me as well.
The week before leagues, I started to feel something on the area behind my left knee, so I decided to be smart and take 4 rest days that week and had to miss another race. Then I ran 17:55 at Crystal Springs, a 15 second PR from a few weeks ago. Crystal Springs is a hilly course comparable to Mt. Sac. This reminds me the importance of rest and recovery.
We did a 1.5 mile tempo the Monday before CCS (saturday) and I felt really flat for the whole week. My legs felt like they were stuck in one speed and I couldn’t make myself go any faster. I was predicted and mentally prepared to earn CCS champion, but lost it in the last 200m. I felt burnt out and so ready for my season to be over as much as I love running.
Sure, I was disappointed at first, but I learned so much from the outcome:
The Wednesday before State (Saturday), I ran the fastest mile I’ve ever ran at practice- 5:26 and it made me happy. I surprised myself with a 10th place finish, running 18:08.56 (yeah they rounded it to 18:09 but that time looks more glamourous).
What I’ve done differently for state is that I took Thursday off and ran the course on Friday. Sweet tomatoes is my favorite place to go for my pre race dinner. I ate three potatoes the night before and one the day of.
After state, my enthusiasm for running was suddenly refilled. I signed up for Footlocker West senior race (I am eternally grateful for my father to convince me to go for the seeded) the second I got home. There was only one week in between state and footlocker, and my workout was 4x800m. I averaged 2:38-2:45 in the wind and rain.
For Footlocker West, I repeated the same thing I did for state- taking Thursday off and ate at sweet tomatoes again. 3 potatoes and night before, and one the day of.
Since school uniforms weren’t allowed, I ran for a club, BB Racing, and got to wear this cool bright pink uniform. It felt nice running with a team, and everyone there was so friendly. :)
During the whole race, I stayed around 15th place or so, and passed 6 people in the last 800m, finishing in 9th, with a spot to adnvance to Footlocker Nationals! This is the biggest accomplishment of my life.
I did the same 4x800m workout again, but this time, I couldn’t run as fast. I think I used up all my energy in that kick because I ended up running my slowest 5k this season there. I still had a great time meeting and running with the fastest high schoolers in the nation and several olympians.
As of now, I took two weeks off from that, and now I’m slowly building up my mileage, and I plan to repeat what I did last track season. :)
PART TWO: Cross training!
Blogilates! I love the weekly videos Cassey puts out on youtube and I really respect her for her passion for wanting to help everyone achieve their goals.
I try to do at least one from each every day! I don’t follow any weekly schedule, I just do what I feel like on that day. I workout for around 30-60 mins every morning, depending on how much time I have! The only days when I don’t are race days, otherwise, this is year-round! Planks are my favorite since they strengthen all those wonderful muscles!! vI try to do at least one from each every day!
During this summer, before cross country 2014, I did more cross training on my stationary bike than I did running and it really helped me build an awesome base without the pounding. I finished the season mostly injury free, and could afford more rest days just in case something small was coming up. When I took time off during the season for injury prevention, I cycled to substitute for running. I also used to take cycling class at the YMCA, but I get bored with just music playing, and I always have to be on my phone or reading a book.
I swim for 30-60 mins non stop of mostly freestyle, and breathstroke for recovery. I breathe after every 5-7 strokes, because I feel like it helps increase my lung capacity which helps with running. I only swim during the off season. I used to be able to swim for longer, but I just can’t stand the mind numbing monotony of the pool floor.
I usually only go on the elliptical if I’m waiting for my mother or feel tired that day. I’m always reading a book as well.
During the off season, I never have training plans. I do whatever I feel like for however long I feel like that day. Only when racing starts is when I make sure I follow a training plan closely.
4. Troubleshooting (Injury alert!)
I stretch at home after I take a shower for around 5 mins. I like doing the splits because it gets my hamstrings and lots calf stretches because I have a history of shin splints. This is pretty much all I do if I’m not sore/injured. Maybe I should add daily foam rolling.
When I’m sore after a hard workout/race, I foam roll and stretch a lot. I also soak my legs in boiled ginger because it’s supposed to have warming phytochemicals that increase your blood circulation according to Chinese medicine. I also get a wonderful massage from my lovely mother afterwards.
When I’m feeling an injury budding, I I’ve for the first 24 hours and heat until it’s over. I’ve never taken an ice bath before. I also go see a Chinese doctor who gives me painful but satisfying deep tissue massage.
Freezing a Dixie cup also helps you get into small areas
During cross country 2013 (first season back from injury) I would also go for acupuncture every few weeks, but I haven’t done that ever since.
I hope you found this useful and let me know if you would like me to do anything else like this in the future!! I love giving back to my wonderful supporters because you guys motivate me to be at my best every day <3