The off-season is time to relax and rewind after the hard few months of training. Now, everyone's different with how long they need or want to take off, but it doesn't mean you have to spend the whole off-season just sat on the sofa. The key is to have a mental and physical break from what you were doing through the hard part of the season. Now, we've put together some tips to help spice up your running and make it a little more enjoyable throughout the off-season.
This time of year is great for running on different surfaces and terrain. Running off-road will help strengthen your stabilising muscles around your ankle and lower limb, but it's not just the physical benefits, it's a mental benefit as well as it will help with motivation and take your mind off the actual running.
Now, cycling is known for being very social and often involving a coffee and cake stop mid-ride and that's maybe not the best idea in the middle of a run, but that's not to say that running can't be social. So, in the off-season, why not mix it up a little bit and try finding a friend to go running with or maybe joining a club and you never know, you might find some new routes or maybe some new sessions that are exciting, and then, at the end of the day, why not stop and have your coffee and cake to enjoy at the end and normally, with a friend, but Mark's left me, but I'm not complaining because it means all the cake for me.
Running with music is nothing new, but it can have a significant benefit to your training. For example, a song with a faster beat is likely to have you running at a faster cadence without even realising it and I personally like to use music to mix things up a little bit. So, I try and run harder on the chorus and then, take it easier on the verse, just to make it a little more fun.
You'd be mistaken for thinking you need a track or a trundle wheel to measure a specific distance in order to do progressive reps, but at this time of year, when training is less specific, you can use natural landmarks, such as a tree or maybe just drop your jacket on the ground to measure that distance, and then, you can just run to time. So, do the rep once, time yourself, and then, jog back to the beginning and try and run it again a little bit quicker next time, doing up to five or six reps and then, if you have used a solid landmark, you can come back week after week and see how you're improving.
Your off-season will gradually become your pre-season, so it's a great time to get your longer, yet low intensity, runs in and if you're not used to running further, then it's a good idea to maybe take some nutrition with you and a bit of water. So, maybe it's worth investing in a small backpack or a bum bag to carry your bits and it's also worth considering carrying your phone with you just in case you do get lost when you're investigating new routes or you get tired and you want a lift home. And, remember, if you're running at a lower intensity, you might need to wear an extra layer just to keep warm.
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