It is often a hard transition once your goal race is done. You spent countless hours preparing for it and then like that it is done and you are left with no training to do to keep yourself sane. Of course the first few days of this are nice and the recovery is needed but soon after you feel empty and like something is missing in your life.
First things first once you have recovered from the season it is time to reflect on the past season. Check out my fall season reflections here: https://torunningchiro.com/2015/11/26/fall-season-in-review/
While reflecting my challenge to you is to write down three things that you thought went well this past season and three things you would like to improve on. Then work backwards and decide how you are going to make those improvements for the next season.
One very important part of this down time is to actually TAKE SOME DOWN TIME!!! I know you are worried that you are going to lose your fitness… But here is the thing if you do not come out of that level of fitness you will plateau (or worse get injured and be forced into time off) and not see the gains you are capable of. It is called periodization and is a part of any smart training plan. I know it seems counter intuitive and you have spent the last 4-6 months making running an integral part of your weekly routine but it is imperative that you take some time away.
“If you love something let it go, if it comes back it’s meant to be; if it doesn’t it never way.” -Albert Schweitzer
Running will come back to you I promise. But in order to keep a healthy relationship with it you must take a little break from it. This allows your body and mind to heal from the intense cycle of training you just put it through.
So since I have convinced you to take some time away from your serious training what the heck are you going to do with all the free time???
Well working with a lot of runners some common areas that need improvement I observe are incorporating strength and mobility into your training. It can be a tough game of organization trying to achieve the needed mileage while also adding in strength and mobility sessions. So now is the time to focus a bit more on these when the mileage is lower.
Another area that can be worked on in a lot of runners is technique!!! Yes you read that right running has a certain technique and it is important to be aware of this. If you were going to go play tennis for the first time you would not just step out on the court and expect to know what to do… So why is running any different? Here is a test take a look at your race photos from this past season. How does your technique look? It is often beneficial and very eye opening to have your gait assessed by a professional and recorded so you can see it. There is a lot that can be learned and improvements that can be made that will help you run more efficiently. And if you can be more efficient every step you take during your race would that not be a HUGE benefit? So remember running is a skill and it needs to be practiced and refined!! This is a major part of what we do at The Runner’s Academy, if you are interested contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org or 437 889 5440).
If in your reflection nutrition was something you want to improve on than maybe it is time to consult someone about that as well. Dr. Ashley James is a naturopath and sports nutritionist at The Runner’s Academy who is excellent and I work with on my nutrition planning. You would not expect a car to drive without the correct fuel in it, so why are you any different?
So here is a summary in this down time from serious training run for fun and because you want to. Finding your head is still not in the game? Take some more time off. Now is not the time to be forcing runs. Spend some time on strength work –> not sure how to go about this consult a professional or join a class like the run stronger class at The Runner’s Academy http://therunnersacademy.com/news/. Work on your mobility, try some yoga or consult a professional about a solid mobility plan. Work on nutrition to help support your intense training. Lastly get your gait analyzed if you think there are some areas of improvement.
Do you have a group that may be interesting in learning more about any of these areas? If you would like to set up an educational seminar on any of the above topics with myself and/or other team members at The Runner’s Academy contact me at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope everyone enjoys their down time and does something useful with it!!! Oh and do not forget to start to set goals for the spring!!! Stay tuned for my new years goal setting post!