Running Through the Off Season

My December training plan is pretty nonexistent!

It’s December. The holiday season is in full swing and the fall racing season is a memory. For a lot of us, the winter season feels like a big question mark. What is there to do without falling off the wagon? The calendar may be full or parties and holiday cheer, but empty of a training plan. It’s easy to not have an idea what to do this time of year and it feels a little bit like a running limbo, so here’s a few suggestions on what to do before your next training cycle starts.

Run a streak! A run streak is when you run consecutive days in a row for an extended period of time. Streaks can last as long as you feel like: 30 days, from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, a whole year, ten years, whatever! You get to set the terms, so take easy short days when you want to, and try to take “rest days” where you only run a mile. Around the holidays, running streaks are a great way to stay motivated and keep up your miles during this tempting time of year.

Train for a shorter distance. Can’t stand the thought of an empty calendar? Already have a spring marathon on the calendar?ย Put a half marathon or a 10k training plan in the books so you can keep up your base mileage before you start training for the coming year’s big races. Having a plan in place will help you stay on track during the off-season and be ready for training to start in the spring.

English: Strength & Conditioning Suite
Though staying outside year round is awesome, get some speed workouts done indoors this winter. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Work on speed and form. When you spend most of the year working on going far, sometimes things like speed and form tend to fall by the wayside, especially for this Salty blogger. Every time I begin training for a marathon or ultra, I tell myself,” I will do speed work this time.” And then not even a week in, I trade speed days in for “speedy” runs and haven’t really gotten that much faster. Winter is a great time to work on speed and form because you don’t necessarily want to spendย that much time outside in the cold. And as Ginger discussed earlier today and Rosemary mentioned recently, it’s a great time of year to hit the indoor track! You’ll thank yourself when your spring training season starts!

Take some time off. Think about the past 12 months. Did you spend the majority of it training for one race or another? Or are you injured, but still pushing the miles? It’s extremely hard for many to come to terms with, but it might be time for a break. And breaks don’t have to be time off, necessarily; you can also just cut back on the miles, leave the watch at home and run as you please. Get as much rest as you need. The roads and trails will always be there for you!

What are your plans for the ‘off’ season? What has worked for you in the past?

Trail and 100 mile ultra runner who still loves a good road marathon every now and then. Lifetime Northeast Ohio resident that dreams of the mountains out west, but loves CLE too much. Sometimes a vegan, sometimes does yoga, always loves a good craft beer and post race donuts.

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6 comments

  1. Some great ideas…I’m doing a couple of them. Signing up for some races deffo..a 10k somewhere (prob the UK, brrr). A trail race and then a half marathon in March with a PR target! That should keep me motivated. And I’m also going to do some speedwork and hills in December and January – when I’m short on time, I want to make those 30 or 40 minutes count as much as they can!!