p.e. independent study + my first weekly workout reflection


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:

  1. Long run: 3-4 miles at a comfortable, “conversation” pace
  2. 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
  3. Hills
  4. 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
This week, I met Goal #2 (Tuesday) and Goal #3 (Sunday). Goal #1 (Thursday) was not met because it is too dang cold to run outside! My favorite workouts of the week were Tuesday’s Speed Work workout and Thursday’s Long Run workout. For Tuesday’s workout, I embraced the unfamiliar challenges and enjoyed the change of pace from my regular running training. On Thursday, I was not really in the mood for a workout, let alone a long run on a treadmill, so completing my scheduled long run tested my mental toughness. Although this workout was challenging, at the end of my run I was flooded with the feeling of accomplishment, which is a great feeling.
My goals for the coming week, Sunday, January 22nd to Saturday, January 28th:
  • 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.
This Weekly Workout Reflection may be short, but I spent time throughout the week reflecting on almost each day’s workout in my Workout Log. Have a great weekend!

6 responses »

  1. Your independent credit sounds GREAT–and I am sure you will ‘overdo’ the requirements, which is why you were allowed to do so! My next half is in STL, April 15–my 7th, thus far. Weight training started, for me, this month. I forgot how it makes me feel, and I welcome the change, but LOVE the run!
    Good luck with your endeavors-mb

    • Mary Beth,
      I asked my grandma about you; ever since a few weeks ago, I did not know who the “Mary Beth comments” were from! I am so glad to know who the mysterious Mary Beth is :)

      I want to run a half marathon; one of my cross country coaches is a consistent long-road-race runner, and he has offered to train with me for a half. I am nervous to increase my mileage–I don’t go above 4 nowadays–, but I think I can increase it with the companionship of a running partner and the guidance & encouragement of a coach. But, it’s up to me to make the first step!

      Good for you for tackling weight training; when I first started weight lifting regularly, I resented it, but now, I love the addition of it to my once cardio-heavy training!

      Keep me posted on your training!

      • I am an interval runner–so I run/walk. Wasn’t happy with my progress in doing really long distances–but a runner none the less! My newest workout consists of using some resistance bands, so I can do pull-ups. Wow–great for upper body:-)
        Good luck on deciding whether or when to do a half–there is soooo much energy at these events–but with your track background, know you know the feeling.
        Called your grandma today, to tell her of your message. Her computer is presently on the blink, but she is expecting the repairman soon. Take care, and keep posting.
        Your pumpkin muffins are great!! I added black walnuts to mine-yum.

          • Your grandparents enjoyed the muffins, and the cheeriodoodles, so you recipes are being enjoyed.
            My training is going well. Luckily, have been able to do all runs outdoors, and I have a resistance trainer for my bike, that I use, if I have to do crosstraining, at home-it is GREAT!
            Glad to see you are adding ‘rest’ days–those are the hardest for me, but know my body HAS to have that time to repair itself, as I am sure you know, as well. Good luck this week!
            Grandma Eckerle’s computer is fixed–YEAH:-)
            mary beth

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