Training Blog: Air Academy's Bethany Michalak

Air Academy (CO) senior Bethany Michalak has a big season ahead of her. The Colorado standout finished sixth last year at the Colorado Class 5A State Cross Country Championships. But the NC State commit then had a breakthrough moment at Nike Cross Nationals when she finished third overall for a season best of 16:55 for 5K. As she trains for this cross country season, Michalak will return as the fastest competitor from nationals. During the spring, she finished second at states in the 1,600m and 3,200m. The rising senior also finished third in the mile at Brooks PR with a personal best of 4:37.39, which was ranked U.S. 5 in 2023. Michalak set a personal 3,200m best of 9:57.86 at her season opener at Arcadia. We've asked the Colorado star to give us some insight on her training this season. This is the first of a four-part training blog heading into cross country. 

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Week 1 (July 31 - August 5)

Monday, July 31 - Day Off

My week of training usually starts on Mondays, but for the past two weeks I have been at high altitude putting in high mileage weeks, so I wanted to make sure that my body had an extra day to reset and recover before I started my training back up at home!

Tuesday, August 1 - 6 miles

I ran on the Santa Fe Trail on Tuesday, which is a trail that runs through almost all of Colorado Springs. I ended up running six miles with some teammates and then finished off by doing core at the end. After my run, I celebrated my mom's birthday! We went shopping, got our nails done and then we ended the day by going out to dinner with my whole family.

Wednesday, August 2 - 7 miles

I ran on a different part of the Santa Fe Trail on Wednesday. This stretch is fairly flat so it allowed me to push the pace a little easier. I ran seven miles this day and ended my run with some more core and strength. I spent the rest of Tuesday taking my senior pictures and hanging out with my family.

Thursday, August 3 - 9 miles 

Today we had practice and we did a circuit workout. During the summer we do this circuit workout a lot to help build our strength for the upcoming cross country season. The circuit consisted of latter drills, hurdle drills, lunges, pushups, hill repeats and 100 meter sprints. The workout was continuous and you had to hit each drill back-to-back. After this workout, my teammate and I went to our gym FYX and did some additional strength work. My teammates and I usually go to the gym 2-3 times a week to strengthen our bodies, which then helps with injury prevention. Later that night I did a three mile double.             

Friday, August 4 - 6 miles

A few of my friends and I got up early to paint our senior parking spots. After we finished, I ran from my school. Our team at Air Academy is super lucky because our whole school is surrounded by a ton of different trails! I ran six miles and ran into a few teammates during the run. I spent the rest of my day after my run with my teammates.

Saturday, August 5 - 9 miles

We had our final club practice before all of us started up with our high schools. This is my long run day so I ran nine miles with my teammate Jordan. After we finished we ran strides and then we had a goodbye picnic. For the rest of the day, I hung out with my teammates and we played a bunch of barefoot soccer and volleyball. 

Total Mileage: 37 miles 

This is the first of several training blogs written by various athletes as the 2023 cross country season begins to ramp up. Check out our training blog series page for more content.