Which approach is right for you?
While a period of rest is definitely necessary for both body and soul, off-season run-focused workouts can play an important role in your 2013 performances.
To come up with an off-season run plan, consider the distances you’re training for, as well as your experience level and injury status. From there, mix and match the following advice from running experts to devise a plan to stay injury-free and run faster than ever come race season.
The Approach: Cut the mileage and intensity but keep the consistency.
After the competitive season, Chicago-based USATF and RRCA-certified running coach
Brendan Cournane, prescribes between one week and one month off running, followed by a period of easy running. “After a break, I have athletes start some ‘off-season’ conditioning, which is usually two to six months of continued running, but at lower intensities and distances,” he says.
Apply it: Reduce your regular running mileage by 50–60 percent and cut out much of the higher intensity work. “These are more maintenance workouts,” explains Cournane. “They reduce stress on the body, allow for muscle recovery and simultaneously keep the routine of exercise on a consistent frequency.” If you were previously doing two or more hard workouts a week, reduce that to one hard workout amid the easy, reduced mileage. As a result, you’ll maintain fitness but give your body and mind a break from the daily grind. This means fresh legs and renewed motivation when the season starts.