So, Will I Suffer From Scaling Back My Exercise and Running Routines at this time of year?
Runners DO need a break! It doesn't matter how old you are or how many miles a week you run, a period of reduced volume and intensity will do your body—and your brain—good. And for many runners, there's no better time to back off than during the holiday season, with its competing time demands and family obligations.
But taking some time off, or just scaling back does NOT open the door to over indulging in all of those holiday favorites. We believe we spoke enough about the do's and don ts of sampling all those holiday goodies, so we are not going over this here at this time.
"By the end of the year, most people, who are avid runners, are doing their max mileage, whether it's 20, 40, or 100 miles per week, and they've taken their bodies to their maximum level, too," says Jenny Spangler, coach of the Jenny Spangler Racing team in Chicago. "Waking up early day after day to run can eventually lead to burning out, no matter how tough you are."
How long you choose to back off is up to you—a newbie running 10 to 20 miles a week may feel rejuvenated after two to three weeks of scaling back, while a hard-charging marathoner may need up to two months of easy going. Don't quit exercising entirely, or coming back will be more difficult. Instead, try these ways to tone things down so you're rested, recovered, and ready for a fitter, faster 2017.
During your break, you need to inject some speed to keep your legs and lungs strong—this will also help ease the eventual return to your regular running routine. "Fartleks are a great way to maintain some leg speed without stressing your body or mind too much," says Spangler. "There are no time, distance, or pace goals involved; it's only about the effort."
Once or twice a week, in the middle of a run, do five fartlek pickups of up to three minutes each, at a pace that feels moderately hard. Jog between each for as long as it takes you to recover. If you're running with friends, take turns initiating the pickup and determining how long and how fast to make it.
Once or twice a week, in the middle of a run, do five fartlek pickups, of up to three minutes each at a pace that feels moderately hard. Jog between each for as long as it takes you to recover. If you're running with friends, take turns initiating the pickup and determining how long and how fast to make it.
And What is Fartlek training? Well, this is a topic for another blog.
LONG RUNS MAXIMIZE YOUR TIME
Putting long runs on the shelf for a while not only gives your running muscles more time to recover from a year of steady running but gives you more free time to spend with the family or to tackle long-neglected, demanding household tasks, such as your leaf-choked gutters. After you cross-train for a week or two, run no longer than 30 to 40 minutes at a time for two weeks. For the remaining three to four weeks of your scale-back period, your longest run should be one-third to one-half the distance of your pre-break long run.
It may seem strange to schedule an event when you're supposed to be taking it easy, but the opportunity to race with zero pressure can be liberating and fun too. Without the stress of “I must perform”, you'll be free to soak up the vibe happening around you at the event, pace will be slower, your friends or family members can be a part of it, you can cheer on fellow runners, and revel in the post-race party. Find a local Turkey Trot or Jingle-Bell Jog, encourage a buddy to join you, and leave the watch at home.
The main goal here is to scale back and enjoy this time off, you’re not pulling the switch on exercising completely, and you’re just dialing back on the intensity and the regimen of that early morning or after work training venues at the gym or taking to your regular trails.
So, the bottom line is, NO, you won’t hurt yourself by scaling back during the holidays this year. In fact, you’re going to be helping yourself by giving your body a rest. Enjoy the holidays, eat smart and stay loose with some small running/jogging, or walking periods just to remind your muscle groups that they are still needed for when you get back into your normal exercise/training routines.
A key point in this is to set yourself a “Startup” goal on when you're going to get back into your fitness mode. This depends on you and how intense your previous workout schedules were. It’s hard to scale back but it's also just as hard to re-commit to your old routines, that is why you need that ‘Startup” date set in stone.
You might want to give yourself an incentive, to get back to the grind by getting yourself a motivation gift. Maybe a new pair of running shoes, a new running outfit, one that’s made for the winter training climates in your locale or maybe, just maybe that new fitness monitor. For some ideas, you can always go to https:www.heartratemonitorsusa.com and select that perfect incentive gift you’ve been putting off.
Enjoy the Holidays from the gang here at HeartRateMonitorsUSA.com!