I love being in training mode – following a plan with prescribed workouts on most days (often more than one per day), target paces, race expectations and even the pressure that sometimes comes along with it. I enjoy counting down the weeks and days before an “A” race, pouring over weekly and monthly mileage totals, and even the challenge of fitting it all in.
That being said, I really enjoy the off-season.
I only had a few weeks “off” between my BQ race in May and starting training for my fall marathon. In hindsight, I probably should have shortened the cycle to allow a longer break in between, but my training group was gearing up again and I was set on another 18-week cycle. It all worked out in the end, but there were several times over the summer that I felt burnt out and run down from training. I was over it and wishing for the cycle to just end already so I could take a break. I ended up finding my mojo again, but I have definitely been looking forward to this post-marathon break.
With Boston being an early-season marathon, I’ve decided to cut my next training cycle by a few weeks in favour of more downtime before kicking it off. I will be taking the rest of the year off formal training so that I can kick off a new training plan in January fresh and raring to go – giving me a solid 15 weeks before Boston.
After that I’ll be heading into some serious tri training, so it’s important that I take advantage of this freedom now so that my mind and body are fresh for a big year ahead.
Of course I will still be running (and swimming and cycling), but I get to do it when I want, if I want, how far I want, how fast I want, etc. I admittedly have a general idea of weekly mileage and long run distances that I would like to maintain in order to start training with a strong base, but these are very comfortable targets – just enough to keep me active and feeling good.
A sure sign of the “off-season” – finishing runs without rounding up to the next even distance. 🙂