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. 

Week 1 - Week 2 - Week 3 - Week 4

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Week 2 (August 6 - August 12)

Sunday, August 6 - Day Off

Sunday is my off day, so my friend Jordan and I drove up to a place called Twin Lakes and spent the day there. We got to swim in the lake, eat good food and just enjoy our time in the mountains before the season got underway.

Monday, August 7 - 7 miles

Monday was our first day of official practice at Air Academy. Usually my workout days are Monday and Thursday, but since this was the first practice back we went for one of our foundation runs. I ran seven miles that day with my teammates and then we finished the day with core.

Tuesday, August 8 - 7 miles

Another foundation day, but our coach wanted us to do a hilly run. We ran through the trails by our school and finished off with some more core and strides. Before practice, my teammates and I spent the day in Denver and went shopping. After practice every Tuesday we have a tradition of going to get frozen yogurt at a place by our school, so we went for the first time of the season.

Wednesday, August 9 - 7 miles

Wednesday was our first hard workout of the season. We did 10x300s on the grass with active recovery. Grass workouts are definitely not fun, but they are super helpful for cross season. Before and after this workout my teammates and I did a two-mile warm-up and cool down and we ended practice with some more core. After practice a few of the girls helped me finish my senior parking spot and then we finished the day by going out for dinner.

Thursday, August 10 - 8 miles

Thursday was another foundation/recovery run. I ran eight miles with my teammate Emily and we finished practice with strides and core. My friends and I spent the majority of Thursday in "Link Crew" training, which is a club at our school that helps welcome all of the incoming freshmen.

Friday, August 11 - 6 miles

Friday was our pre-meet day. We had our scrimmage that opened up our season on Saturday, so we took our run easy and cut down on our mileage. I ran six miles with my teammates and did more core and strides. Similar to Thursday, my friends and I spent the majority of our day in "Link Crew" training again so we would be ready for school starting next week. 

Saturday, August 12 - 10 miles

Saturday morning we had our scrimmage at a park in the springs. Every year for this first race of the season the boys and girls teams chose a theme to dress up as for the race. This year the girls chose to do Mario Cart because of the irony of racing.

We all had a super fun time at the race and right after the whole team went to one of my teammate's houses for a team breakfast. After this a few of my friends and I played barefoot soccer and then ran our double for the day to keep our mileage up!

After this, we had a farewell for one of our friends who is leaving for college on Monday, so we met up to go bowling and get ice cream.


Photo Credit: Jen Jardeleza

Total Mileage: 45 miles 

This is the second 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.