Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Post Season Rest

After the cross country season you may be physically and mentally tired. You need a break. The question most asked is how do you take this break? The answer is difficult. You can find several books on how to train, but most, if not all, do not tell you how to rest after the season. In many ways, it's a personal decision based on your body and mind. In other words, do what's best for you.

Two options to consider are complete rest and active rest. Complete rest means not running at all. Taking anywhere from one day to two weeks of keeping your running shoes in the closet. Just remember that the more time off, the more fitness you will lose. Another thing to remember is that you are going into your Winter Base Phase after this rest. The more time you take off, the more time it will take your body to adjust to running again.

Active rest means that you continue running. The running you do during this phase will fill two purposes; let you recover from your intense training and help maintain your fitness. If you were running, for example, an average of 8 miles a day at 7:30 pace during the season, you would want to run around 2 - 4 miles a day at about 8:30 - 9:00 pace during this resting phase. On a basic level, what you are doing is running very low miles at a very slow pace. This light, easy running rests the body just as a recovery jog during speed sessions. Although, now, there is no speed running to stress the body, full recovery is taking place. You can continue this type of running for as long as you want, depending on when you are going to start your Winter Base Phase. Up to two weeks is more than enough time to rest your body.

Resting your mind can also take on a complete or active role. Completely taking your mind off of your past season, your upcoming Winter Base Phase, and/or your next track season is a way to let your mind focus on other things and let go of the running for a while. But, if you are a running junky, like most of us are, you will want to actively go over the season results, plan out your Winter Base Phase, and fantasize about what you are going to do during the upcoming track season. This is okay. Just let go of any stress the cross country season put on you and focus on the positive aspects of your running.


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