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.
Monday, August 21 - 7 Miles
I am back in a full school routine, so after school, it was our first workout day of the week. My team warmed up and then our coach told us we had 10-14 grass 200s planned. This workout was probably one of the toughest ones I have done in a while. The grass was extra long and it was super hot. Once we finished the workout we cooled down and did some core. After practice, a few of my teammates and I went to the gym to lift weights.
Tuesday, August 22 - 7 Miles
Tuesday was just another easy run day. My team and I ran on a fairly flat trail and recovered from the workout the day before and just had a chill run. My teammates like to play games during our runs, so we showed our freshmen some of them. After practice, we of course got frozen yogurt, and went to the gym for leg day and I spent the rest of the night doing homework.
Wednesday, August 23- 7 Miles
We had another foundation run today. Our girls team did a collab run with our boys team and we ran all over to the Air Force base. The run was semi-hilly, but nothing too bad! It was a good run and we ended practice with more core and band exercises. I went home for the rest of the day and grinded out more homework.
Thursday, August 24 - 8 miles
Thursday was our other workout day this week. The majority of the team was racing on Saturday, but I wasn't so I had to do a different workout. My coach had me do 4x1 miles on the track. He said the first two were threshold and the last two were race pace or faster.
This workout was definitely a tough one to do by myself on a track, but it definitely helped strengthen my mentality. We had more band exercises after practice and then my friends and I went to our school's first football game after practice. The Kadets won 21-7 and we had a lot of fun that night!
Friday, August 25 - 9 miles
Since the rest of my team was racing on Saturday they ran short on their run that day, so I had to run on my own! I did 7 miles at practice and I also did a two mile double. My goal for this week was to keep my base consistent and try to hit a little extra mileage. After practice, the team and I got pasta and hung out before the race the next day!
Saturday, August 26 - 11 miles
Since my teammates were racing on Saturday I wanted to go support them, but the race was about an hour away and we needed to leave my house by 7 a.m. I got up and ran at 5 a.m. to get part of my run in for that day, and then headed up.
Our girls team was split into two different races so I did both of the warm ups with the team and then watched them compete. Both of our girls and guys teams did super well, and you can tell that all of their hard work is paying off.
After they raced, they had to do a longer cooldown, so I joined them! We then left to get lunch and head back to the springs. I spent the rest of my day with my teammates Jordan and Liv and we baked a cake and hung out for a while!
This is the fourth 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.