Whether your last race of the season is coming close or you have a long break between races, to take some time to recover and rest is important to make sure your body, hormones and cells recover from many races and long-distance training. The ideal plan to reset your body is to first take a break from running 1-4 weeks, depending on your racing season distances and intensity, and second use the off-season as a reset season. For runners who stop training completely during the race break, it can be challenging to get going again once you need to start training. The ideal plan is to use it as a rejuvenating training which you can keep a good fitness base without overtraining. How you structure your reset-season goes according to your goals and fitness level background.
1. Cross-Train: For runners who have been training and racing hard, pushing to their limits non-stop, with their body and mind feeling worn out, enjoying different types of aerobic activities after taking some rest could be enjoyable and efficient. Planning different activities for training such as cycling, swimming, hiking and running at a nice comfortable pace can provide your body with long-term recovery. The hormone levels return to healthy levels, small injuries heal, your body goes back to feeling stronger and more durable. Cross-training can also provide a good psychological break to recover from heavy training and racing schedules. Enjoy a few weekly nice and easy runs to keep moving.
2. Trial of More Kms: For runners who couldn’t reach their distance goals during races, and don’t have any scheduled races for quite a while, after taking a running break for at least 1-2 weeks, then you can start training for longer distances slowly, easily and gradually. Once you start running again, begin each run at a nice easy pace, and lower aerobic levels. This way of training will allow to finish some runs a bit faster on days that you feel stronger. With no races planned for a while, runners will be able to train and increase their distance gradually without the enhanced stress from hard training sessions.
3. Speed Training: For runners who went through a racing season including only long-distance races and runs, after taking a break for 1-3 weeks, you can use the reset-season to develop more speed. Include some fast, short distance runs, and speedwork to improve your running economy, which will make every pace feel easier, even long-distance runs, once you improve your speed level every distance feels easier and stronger. Use speedwork, interval or fast strides training twice/week, you can add the speedwork sessions to the last part of an easy run. It is important to focus on controlled, smooth speed, and proper running form, which is more sustainable than just pushing hard, which can increase the risk of injury.
4. Go with the Flow: For runners who are still progressing in their distance training or coming back from an injury, the reset-season can be used to start getting back into proper training. After 1-2 weeks of race season recovery, or injury recovery, combine cross-training, easy runs, increasing the mileage progressively and adding some speedwork which will increase your endurance and strength level.
5. Take a Break from GPS Devices: Any runner should use the reset season to take a break from any GPS devices, watch, phone. Running is a simple and joyful sport, but one of the easiest way to add some stress to our runs is an over-reliance on GPS watches. These devices can be excellent tools to help us improve our speed, and help us push more and more, and can be very valuable, but to take a break from your GPS watches, will allow you to enjoy your run, nature, and follow your pace and listen to your body. Running once a week without a GPS device will help you focus more on internal feedback, which will make you not only a better runner, but also will help you run and feel your heart rate and pace without needing a GPS device. Use the recovery and reset-season to enjoy the type of training or runs your body and mind want.
Rest Well, Recover Well, Enjoy Nice Runs!