Friday, November 8, 2013

Off Season & What's Next

Now that the marathon is done been I have been doing a lot of thinking about what I'll be aiming for next.  First in order is to get my knee better.  I'm not exactly sure how long this is going to take, so I'm not planning anything for the immediate future.  But, I do have some spring time goals and I think I've picked my next full marathon.  Turns out it may not be so bad to have to take some time to rest, or even have an "off" season.  I stumbled upon this (article) from Runners World today that I thought was thought provoking at the least:

Why You Need a Race Training Off Season

Some key points:

"Every professional athlete has an off season. Baseball players do it in the fall. Football players in the spring. Can you imagine what the NFL would look like if they didn't take time away from game season? Easy—there simply wouldn't be a game season because they would all be injured."

Yes I realize most of us aren't professionals.  However, if the professionals need time to recover than wouldn't it make sense that us mere mortals probably do to? 

"The off season is the "winter" in our training lives. It's a time to heal from the demands of training volume and intensity. It's a time to run horizontally rather than progressively. And it's a time to rejuvenate by weaving in other fun activities. "

This really hits home with me.   We put our body through a lot during race training.  I know that mine really needs a bit of rest after a hard race.  Also, I know a lot of us are worn out from high mileage, speed work, tempos, etc. and really start to look forward to taper close to the end of training.  I think its perfectly ok to want to take a few weeks to run lower mileage and without a watch and just enjoy your run.  And not feel guilty if you want to go for a bike ride or something else instead.

"If the off season were a color, it would be green, as it's a time to sprout new goals and develop plans on how to reach these new goals. When you're running in the off season, you have time to reflect on your achievements and discover your next authentic goal (the one that truly inspires you). "

This is where I am at now.  Developing a plan of action so that I can be even more on point during my next training cycle.  Focusing on new goals.  This gets me excited.  It also makes me want to sign up for another race right now.  But I know I probably wouldn't hit my goal if I did (another race right away).

"You might be surprised that the off season isn't off at all. It's only off in terms of the training-racing cycle. But it's on in terms of running, cross-training and staying fit and active.''

Yes!  I'm glad to hear that an "off" season doesn't mean you don't run at all.  It just means you don't train hard to race, you let your body rest from pushing it to the limits.  I don't know about you, but I'm not interested in losing the base I've built.  But I am ok with taking it easy so my body is ready to be pushed to its limits when my next race does come around.

With that said, I know there are lots of opinions on the topic and lots of people really enjoy doing lots of racing.  I think that's fine too.  Everyone is different and everyone's body reacts different lots of racing/training.  Someone may be able to have a week or two of "off" time and be good to go, someone else may need 3-4 weeks or more.  I also think training and off time is really dependent upon your goals too.  Just remember listen to your body, if it needs some resting and TLC give it that!

Speaking of goals & racing, here is a tentative plan of what I think is up next for me:

Potentially a winter Half Marathon.  I'm looking at the Half at the Hamptons in Hampton, NH. This is really going to depend upon my knee/training.

A Spring Marathon, at least a few weeks out from the Full in May.  I'm eyeing a couple.  My Half PR is a couple years old (1:36:22) and I'm ready to beat it.  I want a sub 1:35.

Maine Coast Marathon--This race is in May and it looks great!  According to their website, it is back after 26 years.  It claims to be fast, but not flat.  I think this will be a really great course for me.  I run on lots of hills and wouldn't mind a rolling course.  It should also have gorgeous views along the coast and is close to my family in Maine.  My goal for this race is going to be a sub 3:30, depending on how well my training goes I may aim for 3:25.  We shall see.

So there ya have it.  Lots of hard to training in my future! I can't wait!

And because this post is boring and has no photos, here are a couple Halloween Costume pics I hadn't shared :)

What's next for you?  Do you have an "off" season?

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