For my P.E. credit this year, I chose to independently study the course instead of take a traditional gym class. With approval and guidance from a certified teacher, but with limited instruction, a student at my high school has the opportunity to embark on a personal investigation of the subject of his or her choice: an independent study. The independent study route is generally chosen when a required credit does not fit into a student’s schedule or when a required credit does not appeal to a student’s interests. My reason for choosing to independently study P.E. was the latter. I do not enjoy gym class because games that are often played, like “Pickle Ball” and “Ultimate,” do not appeal to me. Plus, I never work up a sweat. I would much rather spend eighty-four minutes of my day working out in a more beneficial and more enjoyable to me way, such as through running and strength training.
My P.E. independent study, which is a nine week course, is broken into two phases. Phase 1, the Workout Phase (the physical part of “P.E.”), will take place during the first four weeks of the course. During these four weeks, my advisor has allowed me to count my already existing after-school weight training and cardiovascular workouts as my P.E. class. How will my advisor monitor my physical activity? With my Workout Log! I will also write a Weekly Workout Reflection blog post, published on Saturdays or Sundays, to reflect on the prior week’s workouts and to state my workout goals for the upcoming week. Additionally, because my P.E. “class” takes place after school, I have a free period in my schedule. Having this free period during the school day has helped make my transition from First Semester to Second Semester smooth. It has allowed me to become accustomed to my new classes and daily schedule, as I have time in the school day to work on homework, study, and accomplish other tasks, such as writing thank-you notes and filling out scholarship applications. I really enjoy my free period!
I am still in the “off-season,” or the part of the year where I am not participating in a sport. Right now, I am in the off-season between cross country and track (I am preparing for the spring track season.). It is my responsibility to administer my own workouts or attend offered workouts in preparation for the now quickly approaching season. My workout schedule combines cardiovascular (running) training and strength training. I create my own running workouts, but strength training workouts are offered at my high school. Within a week, I complete three running workouts and three strength training workouts (additional cardio may be tossed in occasionally). My running days focus on these four workouts:
- Long run: 3-4 miles at a comfortable, “conversation” pace
- Short, continuous run: 2-3 miles at a comfortably hard pace (faster pace than the long run pace); may be combined with hills if using the treadmill
- Speed work
Phase 2, the Project Phase (the education part of “P.E.), will take place during the final four weeks of the course. Track practice starts at the beginning of this phase, and instead of completing two workouts each day, my advisor has graciously permitted me to center this period of my independent study course around fitness and health related projects. My free period during these four weeks will be used to work on these projects. Like always, I will still record my physical activity in my Workout Log, but I have yet to decide if I will continue with Phase 1’s Weekly Workout Reflection blog posts.
Weekly Workout Reflection for Sunday, January 15th to Saturday, January 21st
My goals for this past week were:
- Complete my long run outside
- Dedicate one running workout entirely to speed work
- Combine my short, continuous run with hills
- Increase my back squat weight by 5 pounds on Monday (75 pounds), Wednesday (80 pounds), and Friday (85 pounds). This is a big goal for me; the key to accomplishing this goal is to be mentally tough.
- Increase my intensity in strength training workouts by quickly moving from one exercise to the next; longer rest periods will be taken in between “circuits,” not in between exercises within circuits. To ensure quickly moving from one exercise to the next, I will need to plan my circuits before I begin them.
- I am planning to combine my short, continuous run with hills this week. Last week, I incorporated 4, .25 mile hills into my run. This week, my goal is to incorporate 5, .25 mile hills into my run, and to follow this routine for hills: 3% incline, 4% incline, 5% incline, 5% incline, 6% incline.