It is officially the off season for me. Since I did not plan on running a marathon in December, my off season began in October but I kept on training in hopes of another Rapha 500 challenge in 8 days event around Christmas. I tried the challenge two years ago and failed miserably but this year looks promising. I discovered both Rapha and Strava at the same time for that challenge and I am happy that I did. They are both good organizations and I owe to myself to complete the challenge.
Back to the off season training article. Most of us pick an event as our main or “A” event. Sometimes we do two “A” events in one year but we still have the same feeling when we finish our main event. It is a feeling of accomplishment. We achieved our goal or we did not achieve our goal. If we did not achieve our goal, we will either quit or dedicate ourselves to achieving our goal next year. My message here is for the people who achieved their goal and then asked “Now what?” It is a weird feeling when a mission has been accomplished and you have no follow up goal. Most of us find ourselves in this predicament at one time or another. I am bringing this up because I am in the “now, what” stage myself. Here is a list of things I do to keep myself ready for the next season.
- Find next “A” event
- Maintain core strengths
- Lift weights
- Swim a mile at least once a week
- Ride my bike farther than 40 miles at least once per week
- Run close to 10 miles per week
- I also like to do a couple trail half marathons during the off season to keep my endurance up
- Check your calendar for the last season. Did you get injured? What were you doing before you were injured? No calendar? Create a plan to track your workouts.
- Pick your next event
- Develop your training plan for the event
- Decide what your fitness level should be when the training begins
Picking your next event is usually the most fun part of the process. There are so many events in so many locations; it can be hard to choose. If you are picking one of your first events, it is so exiting when you realize that you are going to be an athlete. I still remember my first race, when the race director raised his bull horn and said “athletes, gather around”.
Developing the plan is not easy. There is no plan that fits everyone. We all have to come up with our own plan. I recommend looking at other peoples plans to use as a reference for your own plan. I do the same thing myself. I can take my own plans from 10 or 15 years ago and tailor them to my current needs. As I get older, my recovery is not the same as it was 15 years ago. My nutritional needs are certainly different from 15 years ago. In fact, the grocery store is different from 15 years ago but that is another matter entirely. I encourage everyone to put at least one rest day per week in their training plans. I tend to be more prone to injury when I am training over 20 hours per week. I used to consider a 2 mile swim day as my rest day. That was not a good idea. Rest means rest.
Whether your “A” event was a couch to 5k or the western states 100, rest up, pick your plan and have fun.