Taking time off after a long season

Is there a better feeling than a much-deserved break after a long season of running?  I’ll answer for you: no there’s not.

There are so many benefits to taking time off after a season and yet so many runners neglect this super important piece of the training.  Whatever their hatred for a break might be, I’m here to tell all you runners out there that it’s really necessary to take some time away from running every once in a while.

Reasons to take time off after a season

Even as little as 4 consecutive days off will pay serious dividends to your long term running goals.  The longer the race (and season), the longer I suggest you take off.  For a season full of 5k’s, I’d suggest a minimum of a week to a maximum amount of time off of 3 weeks.  For longer peak races, like marathons and ultras, I suggest taking off two weeks minimum to 4 weeks, depending on how you feel.

Consecutive days off are good!
  1. Rest your legs. After a long season where you’ve put in a lot of miles, it’s totally normal to let your legs freshen up and feel good.
  2. Rest your mind.  The toughest part about training for a long period of time is staying mentally focused.  Taking time away from running let’s you recharge your mind.
  3. Eat, eat, eat!  Yes, time away from running let’s you indulge on the foods you told yourself you couldn’t eat because you were training.  Now’s the time to eat them.
  4. Friends.  What friends?  I’m hear to remind you that at one point, you had friends.  Connect with them without feeling guilty of missing a run.
  5. Time to implement new strategies.  With the break in training, it can signify a chance to try new things or to reimplement strength training, striders, or workouts back in to your routine.

Why runners don’t take time off

Not all runners like to take a break after their season.  The feeling of losing all of your fitness is both scary and unappealing to a lot of runners.  Knowing that you’re starting from “square 1” doesn’t make a lot of people feel right.  Like something is missing if they take a week off from running.  I get that, but remember: a week off of running doesn’t negate all of the running you have done.

  • Myth # 1: After a week off, I’ll be in such bad shape.
    • Truth:  You won’t be.  You’ll be recharged and ready to get back out there.  It’s exactly what you needed.
  • Myth # 2: I don’t know who I am without running.
    • Truth: Great. This is the perfect time to find out who that person is.
  • Myth # 3:  If I don’t feel bad, I don’t need time off.
    • Truth: While you may not feel bad on the surface, it’s still a great idea to let all your systems recharge.

Recapping why you should take time off after your season

You’re don’t become a beginner runner from a week off, you just get a bit out of shape.  When you allow yourself to get out of shape, your starting point will be higher than the last time you took time off.  This is how you get better!

A week off will not only allow you to recharge mentally and physically, but you’ll have time to take care of everything you’ve neglected to while you’ve been training.  Personally, there’s no better feeling than the first run back after a break.  The time off from running allows me to appreciate how lucky we are to be able to run in the first place.

via icrashedtheweb.com

Who agrees?  Taking a break from running is one of the best feelings in the world – if it’s on your terms.

Here are stories about professional runners and their breaks: Bernard Lagat’s running break, Offseason breaks like the professionals, Coach Marc’s prolonged break from running

Want to be coached by someone who works with you and your schedule? Contact Marc

1 thought on “Taking time off after a long season

  1. Great blog, taking a 2 week break help me out a lot. I was lossing focus on my runs and physical and mental I was drained. . My break I caught with my friends spend time with my daughter, watch all my shows and movies I missed.
    I felt good after my break , but I started from square one. Slow and pacing myself till I felt my groove again.

    Liked by 1 person

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