Thursday, November 21, 2019

Off-Season doesn't mean On-Couch



Have you ever taken an off-season?

Many are afraid of declaring an off-season, fearing all (or some) of their fitness gains will disappear. An off-season is not a time of complete and total laziness. It's actually a time of maintenance, while recovering from a busy, action-packed or demanding season.

Myself, I had several races on my calendar this past year, especially in the last four months. All of these races were sprinkled in with training for the Marine Corps Marathon. The dominant activity was running (no surprises there), which encompassed long runs on most weekends, weekly speed drills, and many short, easy-paced runs as well. There also was plenty of cross-training to keep my muscles strong and stave off injury.

Alas, the final race of the season has come and gone...so now it's time to recover, regroup, and ready myself for the what's next. Enter: Off-Season!


As the title of this post indicates, it's my off-season, but I don't plan to spend an excess amount of time on the couch.

The biggest shift for me will be less running and an increase in cross-training. Rest assured, I will still be running, just not as many days per week nor as many miles. My body worked hard the past several months, and I plan to reward it with a modified fitness schedule.

Here's a peak at what I'm anticipating on a weekly basis:

Mondays - #nevermissaMonday 
This will include a short run (2-3 miles) in the morning and possibly some other light cardio (walking or elliptical) later in the day or evening.
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Tuesdays - #restday
Nothing crazy...probably elliptical in the early mornings and stretching and/or foam rolling in the evening. Once in awhile, I'll do some strength work in the evening.
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Wednesdays - #5at5
My weekly early morning meet-up with Barb is one of those rituals that I cannot take a pass on. We usually meet for five miles at 5:00 a.m., but if the weather is too cold or crazy, we've been known to run after work. We've also postponed this weekly run to Thursday from time to time. 

Thursdays - #HIIT or #stairtraining or #strengthwork
A perfect day for non-running stuff.  I love the challenge of coming up with new and different workouts, many involving my stairway and burpees. I usually try to sneak in some strength moves in most of my HIIT workouts.
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Fridays - #activerecovery
Since I'll most likely be running on Saturday, if there are any DOMS at play (from Thursday's workout), Friday morning is when they will probably be making an appearance. I'll either do some elliptical or go for a walk, first thing in the morning, to loosen up the muscles. There will also probably be some yoga or stretching on tap in the evening.
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Saturdays - #long(ish)run
Who doesn't love a Saturday morning run? I might sprinkle in a rare 10-miler, but most of these Saturday runs will be in the 6-8 mile range. With no big races in the immediate future, there's not really a need for anything longer during my off-season.

Sundays - #easypeasy
This is the one day that will be spontaneous each week. I'll most likely be up and moving fairly early, but who knows if I'll go for a short 2-3 mile run, take a walk with the hubby (and/or Max), or just do some elliptical time.
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As far as maintenance, there are several fitness fixes I do on the daily that will continue:
***Planking. I'm not sure how many years I've been daily planking, but it's been a long time. Every morning, no matter what, I do a 2:30-minute forearm plank. It's almost like breathing.

***Leg lifts. I started doing these regularly when I was back home, post-surgery (2017) and couldn't run for three months. My legs benefited, as did my balance. I do 120 total leg lifts almost every day (60 each leg), usually over my lunch hour. It only takes about 2-1/2 minutes as well.

***Push-ups. Ok, I don't do push-ups every day, but I do them frequently. Even if it's only 10-20 a day, they are great for upper-body strength and general badassery.

***Wall sits. These are a relatively new "daily" thing for me. I vary the time I hold them...anywhere from 1-3 minutes at a time. Oorah (yes, I'm still saying that, 4-weeks post MCM).

***Fasted cardio. Being an early-riser, the fasted cardio thing works for me. I don't even need caffeine before these daily workouts, but I do sometimes grab a glass of water (if I'm doing a long run, or any workout longer than an hour, I will have a snack or a small breakfast). I have not really lost any noticeable weight, but I have gradually lost inches (over the past couple years) since doing workouts in a fasted state. It's not everyone's gig, but it's worked well for me and my schedule.
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So, that's my tentative plan of action for the next couple months. It may look like I'm staying pretty active...and that's because I am. With the scaled-back running, and lack of racing, this really is a balanced routine for me. Not too crazy, not too lazy.

Have you ever considered taking an off-season? If so, how long did it last?

I'm linking this with Meranda and Lacey for the Friday with Fairytales and Fitness link-up. 

 

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24 comments:

  1. That sounds like the perfect crosstraining program! You do a 2.30min plank every morning? That is impressive! I can hold a minute. I will check today whether I can do one over 2 minutes. I doubt it.
    I really like the special effect of the picture of you on the elliptical. Is it a photoshop-kind of program that you have on your phone?

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    1. That pic is from a filter off the Prisma app....there are lots of funky filters that really turn a boring pic into a piece of art ;-)

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  2. I never really thought of "on" and "off" seasons until i started reading your blog to be honest! I was either training for a big race, or I wasn't! I found, several years ago, that the more I move, the better I feel. This is why this year's events (surgery, hernia) have kind of taken a toll on me mentally. So I think your plan is great! You are maintaining your fitness and your distance without going overboard. You are basically setting your body up for success for the "on" season. Though I don't think "REST" = the elliptical *wink*, but I get it... #activerecovery for the win!

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    1. I'm a strong believer in off-seasons. I usually have a lot of races (and training) that have finished by the winter, though, so some downtime (especially from running) is warranted. Like you, I have to be in motion...the key is to stay in motion but doing it moderately, right?

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  3. LOL, due to circumstances, almost my entire year this year was an off season. I have plans for one half next year (not signed up yet, but probably soon).

    Thanks for the reminder on the wall sits. I do them off & on, had been doing them, but kinda forgot the last few days.

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    1. Wall sits can be tough! When I first made it past the 2:00 mark, I was almost shaking!

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  4. You and I are on the same wavelength. I've realized that I do need to cut back a little on the running, and I've really been digging the shorter 3-4 mile runs that I've been doing this week. I've realized that there's no need for me to run anything longer than 6 miles until mid January when I'll start training for my next half. I'm not sure if there's any magic to fasted workouts, but I'm with you, for weekdays mornings the only way I can get my workouts in is to roll right out bed and start working out. Coffee and breakfast taste so much better after a workout.

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    1. Total agreement! I don't drink coffee, but I always have a hot chai latte upon coming back inside from a run (or even after a hot workout inside). It's like a well-oiled reward system LOL

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  5. Looks like you have a great plan in place that works for you and your body!

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    1. Thanks!! I have to stay in motion, daily. This was what I came up with to keep things happening in moderation, but also allowing for some progress. Onward!

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  6. Great plans that keep you strong all year round. I don't consider myself to have an off season - or an on season! as I only do a very few races per year, and not at the same time every year. So I just keep going with around 25 miles a week. But I need to work more strength training in. I'm already cross-training more as I do spin at least once a week now - which I love.

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    1. It's fun staying active, and it's what my body knows :-)

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  7. For Bodybuilders magic happens in the off season. For our rotational athletes at our gym the same. I'm sure that's true for runners too. Glad to see you have an off season plan.

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    1. Exactly! Maintenance is great, but scaling back is also beneficial.

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  8. This sounds like a great plan for the off-season! I'm looking forward to having more time to do more cross-training while I'm not training for a race.

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    1. I have to have a regimen...sitting idle does not work for me LOL It's nice having the flexibility to do a variety of workouts while my running is scaled back.

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  9. I really need to do more core work! I used to do fasted cardio, but that's something I gotta get back into again--it's been a while! I should do more planks too!

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    1. The fasted cardio just kind of happened on its own for me a few years ago. I didn't really know it was a thing LOL

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  10. I admire the schedule you are putting in place for yourself. I have a hard time motivating my self to workout when there isnt a race on the horizon.

    Thanks for linking up.

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    1. I just like to be active, even if it's a simple daily walk. I realize it's not wise to workout hard all year long, but I do want to maintain my fitness and strength...it just makes it all that much easier to jump back into an official plan when the next race does get scheduled.

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  11. I like all of the things you do daily! Going to try to do planks more often now - thanks for sharing your off-season routine.

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    1. The planks have been a great fit for me. I detest crunches, and I think planks work my core more efficiently.

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  12. It sounds like you have a good plan for between your training cycles!

    I think my body would get very angry at me if I took an off season. It needs to move to feel good!

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  13. I think these are great plans! You always have the best blend of cross training activities and it serves you so well.

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