Spring marathon season is coming to an end and many of us are already signing up for fall races and laying out our training plans! I don’t know about you, but I get excited when my coach’s training plan arrives loaded with solid chunks of mileage and challenging workouts. But I also like to look ahead to see when I might get a little break from the effort, the little break known as a cutback week that I look to as an oasis nestled in the weeks of tough training.
Sometimes called “down” or recovery weeks, cutbacks are weeks during which you reduce your training load. The intention of the down week is to allow some physical recovery while still continuing to train. Some coaches suggest cross-training to replace less running, but that defeats the purpose of taking rest time. During a cutback week, you can decrease your mileage, intensity or both. An extra day off running is another possibility.
Confused about how or when to incorporate cutback weeks into your training plan, particularly if you don’t have a coach to do it for you? I’ve got some tips and instructions for making sure you can train strong, plan rest weeks, and not burn out before race day!