Some off seasons I work hard to keep a base and stay fit. Some off seasons, I don’t. This year, I didn’t and I can definitely feel the difference. I have no regrets about that and fitness will come back. Last week, a reader, Mike, asked about keeping a base in the off season.
Everyone needs a break in their running. Running year round can result in injury or like me: burnout. Feeling completely out of shape isn’t the most pleasent way to begin running again, and there are ways to cross train and get the most from an off season. Ultimately, the off season should be used to rest and recover.
Here are a Few Methods I’ve Used to Keep Fitness:
Create a Schedule or Plan:
Like when you are running, it’s important to create a plan. Whether you want make a goal to run 2-3 times a week, cross train, or whatever, just make a plan. When you aren’t training for anything, it becomes easy to just not do anything. Believe me, from late April until early June, I took a week of rest which turned into 2 months. I worked out sometimes, but not enough to keep any base fitness. I was fine with that though!
Create a Realistic Plan:
Sure you could dedicate the amount you currently dedicate to running, but it’s an off season. Thinking out loud, you aren’t supposed to go hard, you are supposed to relax and enjoy other things. I typically recommend about half the time you would dedicate to running but make the plan realistic for you. Find new hobbies you enjoy, do new things, or heck do nothing at all.
Do New Things:
If all you do during your running off season is run or run fewer miles, it’s not really an off season.
Here are some other examples of other great fitness options:
Strenght Training: Some off seasons I get into it, some off seasons I don’t. I won’t pretend to be knowledgeable in it but you can get great strength training advice from those who are or a certified coach.
Swimming: If you read LOLZ blog long ago, you might remember I swam far before I ran. Swimming is a great full body workout. Let’s be honest, it’s more fun in the summer and outdoors but it’s just as good in the winter too.
Yoga: Yoga is becoming trendy. Especially hot yoga, now that it’s getting colder.
Spinning and Cycling: I’ve done a few spin classes before. I don’t need (or want) to invest in a road bike and fun spin classes are good enough for me. Plus normally they have top 40s music, which I like.
Group Classes: Personally, I like group classes in strength and cardio because I feel like it’s more fun, I actually do core and strength, and I like pop music.
Cardio Machines: Most runners like cardio marchines as much as they like the treadmill. I like them because I can catch up on Netflix, TV shows, or just be mindless for an hour and still get a good workout in. Sometimes, I catch up on the social media too. You can go nuts and raise your heart rate if you want, but gym equipment is all about what you put into it. If you slowly pedal an elliptical, you won’t get as good of a workout as if you go crazy pretending you are racing the elliptical user next to you.
Finally and Just as Important as Working Out: Don’t Forget about your Diet.
When you aren’t burning as many calories, you don’t need to eat as much. This is something I’ve always personally struggled with and I typically gain anywhere from 5-10 pounds. I did from April until now too. You should not deprive yourself but you probably don’t need to eat 5 cookies after a strength session. It’s all about balance.
Keeping a base has it’s place, just like everything else in the fitness world. I am a firm beliver, that it’s important to take a fair amount of rest so your body will be ready for the next training cycle.
Questions for you:
What are your favorite things to do during an off season?
Do you take an off season? Why or Why Not?