Well that’s it, folks; Sunday morning I ran a couple of easy treadmill miles, and now it’s break time. Rest. Recovery. Off-season. Whatever you want to call it, I’m not running for 21 days (well, less now). Yipes!
So how did I get here, and why?
Well it all started over the summer. I read an old runner’s world article about taking a break (check it out), and at the time it sounded BRILLIANT! I was in the middle of marathon training and my legs were super tired. I couldn’t get the article out of my head. So I did a little research and found a few more articles (here, here, and here). I did some thinking, and realized I hadn’t taken a break from running (at least not longer than a week after a tough race) in years. And when I had done it last, I was injured. I have never taken a “self-induced” running break since I started running in 2006. The idea of giving my muscles, bones, etc. a chance to “bounce back” was intriguing.
I let the idea sit in the back of my head for months with the intention of starting my off-season after the holiday running streak. And, even though it’s not exactly exciting to think of giving up running for 3 weeks, I was still interested in giving it a try. I wavered a bit as the date of my last run got closer, but after reading about a flurry of injuries on the blogs, I decided to commit to it. It also didn’t hurt that I just finished up a particularly (mentally) exhausting holiday run streak.
From the first article:
“…well-timed layoffs are needed. Take them without feeling guilty. They can eventually lead to big performance gains. That’s because some very good things happen during downtime. For one, your muscles, tendons and bones get some time to heal. Your body repairs those nicks and dents that have occurred during months of hard training, which safeguards you against major injuries. In addition, layoffs restore your enthusiasm for running and increase your desire to train.”
So, injury prevention and increased motivation…win and win!
Now, the article says you can run during the break. In fact, two of the articles say you can run during your break. Also, they vary by how long the break should be. I decided to go with 3 weeks and no running at all for my first shot at an off season.
So, what will I be doing? Well, so far this week…not a darn thing! Ha!
Ideally, I’d be doing the bike 3 times a week, and trying out yoga, and stretching and foam rolling daily. I’ve worn compression socks twice. That counts, right? What can I say, it’s been a busy week, and also, I’m lazy. And I don’t like any exercises except running.
I probably should work on this attitude.
Another thing I’ll be doing is coming up with an awesome training plan for when I’m back at it! I’ll be doing an 80/20 running plan for the 5k. Maybe I’ll also look into some races. That’s always fun and motivating!
Now, I’m off to go foam roll…or go to bed.
Have you ever taken a break on purpose?