How to Make the Most of Your Running Offseason
Ahh the running offseason. A glorious time between training cycles when you can enjoy family, friends, sleep, and feeling like a normal personal again. A time when your day isn't dictated by the miles on your schedule and you remember what flexibility and balance feel like. But between the winter blues and just trying to catch up on life, it's easy for the offseason to turn into, "Oops I stopped running and am so out of shape."
Make the most of your offseason with some of these tips. Don't stress I'm not asking you to do all of them! Even one or two will make a big difference when it's time to roll out the official training plan.
Run for fun.
Cringe all you want over this phrase - take this time to remember what you love about running. Meet up with friends for a few miles on the weekend followed by brunch. Check out a new run group in your city/town. Or maybe for you it's just a solo run at an easy pace. Whatever it is, do it because you enjoy it - not because the schedule says so.
Have your form analyzed / address imbalances.
Take it from someone with plenty of experience getting injured. The best time to address an injury is before it starts. 70% of runners will suffer some kind of overuse injury each year — yikes!
If you're in the Baltimore area check out FX Physical therapy for their run gait analysis. Their PT's are the absolute best. Find out if you have weak hips or are overextending on your stride and start working on how to fix the issues before they become injuries.
I mean, you knew this was coming right? I didn't build Get Strong Run Faster for nothing! Take advantage of the extra time and do that extra core workout. Do those glutes activation moves. It doesn't have to take a lot of time - 20 minutes a few times a week - to start getting stronger.
Try something NEW.
You've always wanted to try that kickboxing class or maybe a new studio or gym? This is the time to leave the running shoes at home and try something you don't necessarily have time for in the thick of marathon training. Your body will thank you for a change of pace.
Get a sports massage.
Hopefully you were able to make it through race season without any serious injuries. But did you know that tight muscles can be a precursor to injuries? Tight calves can easily develop into bigger issues like achilles tendonitis or plantar fasciitis. Tight hip flexors can lead to lower back pain. None of those things sound like fun to me personally. Also who doesn't love a good massage? EDITOR: Perhaps mention that this is a good idea to incorporate into the training season as well to manage tight muscles.
Find your why / write down your goals.
You know those days when you ugly cry at the idea of your pre-dawn wakeup call? Having solid goals and reasons WHY you are training is key to keeping you motivated. Are you training for a PR? a BQ? Are you running to complete a distance for the first time? Maybe you're just trying to prove to yourself that you can be consistent with a training plan. Whatever it is write it down. Put it some where you can look at it every day. Especially on those days when training gets hard.
Add a collagen supplement to your diet.
Collagen is not only a great addition into your diet for the protein factor - but a long list of other health benefits as well. Did you know that collagen can help improve joint mobility, and aid in digestion? Two things that are major to all people but especially crucial for runners. Collagen can also help reduce inflammation, aid in muscle recovery, and bonus points - is great for hair, nails & skin. For a more in depth break down check out this post.
Lately I have been loving Great Lakes Gelatin collagen hydrolysate. It is super easy to mix into smoothies or coffee. Of all the tips here, this is one you should easily be able to carry on well into the training season and will give you the most bang for your buck. I think we can all agree that some collagen in our coffee beats sitting in an ice bath for recovery!
Take a week [or two] off.
Ok so the offseason isn't ALL about rest - but rest is important. Don't forget to take advantage of this time to get a little extra sleep. Take a week or two off from running completely. It's so crucial that you start a new training cycle refreshed and not headed into a burnout. I know what you’re thinking — it feels so counter intuitive to rest but TRUST ME. If you listen to nothing else in this entire post please remember that you need rest in order to come back stronger.
Let's Chat - Do you have any tips for making the most of your running offseason? Maybe I missed something? Let me know!
This post is sponsored by Great Lakes Gelatin in partnership with Fit Approach and the #SweatPink community. All opinions are my own.