Instead of sleeping in until just a few seconds before his Zoom class begins, junior Jason Lei hops out of bed at 5:00 a.m., laces his red sneakers, and runs several miles. With cardio in the morning and strength training in the afternoon, Lei created a ruthless training regimen to achieve the best performance in races.
At his first Track & Field race, Lei far exceeded his own expectations and ran a 5:36 mile. He has since committed to improving as he has adopted a daily running schedule. Inspired by figures like Leo Dashbach, Lei has great ambitions that few of the school’s athletes have dared to challenge.
“I have a pretty good training plan set up over quarantine,” Lei said. “My goal is to break the school record for the mile once track starts, which is 4:39. I’m just training hard right now for [CIF] in the future.
Lei adheres to his schedule even when brought down by the burden of schoolwork. Running has become a normal part of his life, and it “doesn’t feel like a chore to [him]” because he enjoys it so much.
“If I have too much homework, I would skip my afternoon workout but never my morning one,” Lei said. “For me, I run 50-60 miles a week, usually in the morning before school. In the afternoon, I would do core about four times a week and lift weights twice a week. As for specific exercises, I mainly focus on deadlifts and jump squats. For my core, it’s mainly Russian twists and leg raises. There’s a lot of areas I still need to improve on. Like a stronger core, stronger legs and more speed work.”
Prior to quarantine, Lei developed strong friendships with his teammates, and it became one of his biggest motivators. He is still active by himself, but it is difficult to replace the experiences he would have in-person with his peers.
“Running with teammates and opponents pushes me to go faster during races and a hard run,” Lei said. “What I miss most about running as a team is that my teammates always push me when I’m lagging behind. But now that I’m running on my own, I have to push myself, which can be hard sometimes.”
To push through the difficulties, Lei eased himself into the routine over a two-week period. He times his exercises carefully to limit contact with other people. He says “the only way to avoid being sick is running when people aren’t awake yet.”
“My plan was to take it easy for the first two weeks and to adjust my schedule so I can wake up at that time,” Lei said. “Slowly over time, it just became a normal part of my life which made it much easier to do.
Confident in running varsity by the start of the season, Lei is pushing limits and has his eyes set on nothing but success. “I made some impressive improvements over quarantine and I can’t wait for the season to start in December,” Lei said.