Don’t Forget to Train for Summer Sports

For many of us summer is when we get to spend the most time outdoors, with fewer responsibilities pinning us down at work or school and the weather making it easier than ever to walk, run, hike, mountain bike, rock climb, kayak or do any of our other favorite outdoor workouts.

But jumping right back in without any training can be dangerous. If you haven’t been able to do much for a while, picking it up with the same intensity can lead to injuries that could sideline you for the rest of the season.

Here are some ways you can prepare for that summer burn you’ve been craving, with tips for some of our favorite activities.


  • Begin training six to eight weeks before your first race, if you’ve picked one out.
  • Newbies should start out walking for 20 to 30 minutes four times a week for at least two weeks. Then you can start run-walk interval training. Build yourself up to 6 to 8 minutes of running for every 30 seconds to 1 minute of walking, however long it takes.


  • Start training about eight weeks before your first long hike, which can be as short as 5 miles, depending on your experience level and the terrain.
  • Begin with exercises like jump squats, hip rolls, stepping (including heel-down steps), squat overhead press with lightweight barbells and more. Alternate strength training with cardio sessions such as running and mountain biking. Mix in rest days.


  • Alternate home and cardio workouts with climbing gym sessions if you have access to one for about six to eight weeks before your first intense climbing or bouldering trip. Focus on hand, finger and grip strength at the gym.
  • Your exercise routine should include arm stretches with a resistance band, jump and single-leg squats, side planks with resistance bands and pushups, all concentrating on upper-body strength.


  • For about six weeks before your first major outing, alternate three strength training sessions per week with two aerobic exercise sessions and two rest days per week. Concentrate on your core muscles so they will be able to take some of the paddling load off of your arms.
  • Optimal training exercises include skater with uppercut motions, open-book stretches to extend your reach, kneeling chop, kneeling lift and pulldown exercises with a resistance band and crunches with twists.


  • Again, you should get about six to eight weeks training before your first major biking run, and since biking is an all-body workout you need to give some love to all your muscle groups, starting slowly and alternating strength exercises with cardio sessions, hopefully including other forms of cycling.
  • Recommended strength exercises include planks with dumbbells, jumping lunges, speed skaters, and others that challenge your hamstrings, quads and abdominals.

Check with your health care provider or certified personal trainer before any big changes in your fitness regimen, and there are many websites with resources to help you build your best training routine.