Taking Some Downtime From Running

After running the Lake City Half Marathon in Minnesota on June 26 followed immediately the next weekend by the Peachtree Road Race on July 3, my body told me I needed to take a little break from running. I had been not only running but training hard for the last few months and I had some of the highest mileage months I’ve had since I was training for a marathon many years ago. I didn’t have any injuries or even aches or pains but I just felt like I needed a break.

This time around when I was training for the half marathon in Minnesota I was much smarter and was sure I made time for stretching and foam rolling after every run, in addition to monthly deep-tissue massages, and making getting quality sleep every night a top priority for recovery. Still, I know my body and I know when it’s time to take a break from running. I was ready and to sweeten the deal, Mother Nature decided to crank up the heat and humidity even more where I live, so I wasn’t complaining.

Other than when the pandemic started and everything started shutting down, a typical year for me these last few years would have me start training in January for a half marathon in April. Then I would take two weeks off from running completely to recover and just take walks or hike if I was traveling the week after the race. I would jump right into training again for another half marathon in June or July, followed by two weeks off again. Typically I would get to take a little bit of time off training in August until I needed to start training for my fall half marathon, usually in October or November. Finally, after my third and last race of the year I would take my mandatory two weeks off then just run for fun on days when the weather wasn’t so bad in December.

Taking some time off from running to stop and smell the flowers

In 2020 even though I didn’t run a single race, I started out training for races, thinking they would still happen (“surely this Coronavirus will be gone in a few months,” I naively thought). I trained for what I thought was going to be a half marathon in New Mexico in April, then I trained for what I thought was going to be a half marathon in Minnesota in June. After the second failed attempt at racing for the year, I finally gave up and settled into my own running plan for the rest of the year.

When some people complained about gaining the COVID-15 pounds and other people were taking up running and cycling for the first time, I considered myself fortunate to be able to get outside in the fresh air and run and stay healthy. I know not everyone had this luxury and I didn’t take it for granted. With the extra time on my hands from not being able to go into work, I funneled that time into running more, stretching and foam rolling, and doing more core work.

I felt like I had laid the strongest foundation for my half marathon training plan I had ever laid down for any half marathon ever when I started training for the race in Minnesota. It had also been 20 months between races, with the Hot Cider Hustle Half Marathon, Omaha, Nebraska- 47th state in October 2019 as my last race before the Lake City race this past June. My body was ready to race. That carried over to the Peachtree Road Race the following weekend where I felt like the miles flew by as I happily ran down the streets in Atlanta.

After all of that, though, as I said, it was time for a break. I’m not one of those people who gets anxious when I can’t run. I know my body needs a break from hard running every now and then and I can appreciate that time off. It doesn’t mean I’m just sitting around watching Netflix and eating popcorn (although that does sometimes happen). I’m still going on some walks, stretching, foam rolling, and doing some yoga.

It won’t be long until I’ll need to start training for my next half marathon but until then I’m going to just rest and enjoy the extra time on my hands. What about you- do you train in cycles for races and take time off in-between? How do you feel about time off from running- do you enjoy it or does not running drive you crazy?

Happy running!

Donna

Author: runningtotravel

I'm a long distance runner with a goal of running a half marathon in all 50 states in the US. I also love to travel so I travel to other places when I'm not running races. Half the fun is planning where I'm going to go next!

17 thoughts on “Taking Some Downtime From Running”

  1. Sometimes I just mentally need a break from running, once my motivation dips a little bit. I go in cycles, maybe slowing down for a month or more, but I think I jumped into training too soon this time. I scheduled myself a race in November, but I didn’t anticipate how insanely hot and uncomfortable it would be to run in the desert this time of year, oops!

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  2. I’m like you — I usually know when it’s time for a break (although not always), and because I enjoy different forms of activity, it doesn’t bother me either. I think both those things are a gift, because I know many who go nuts if they can’t run and others who are pushing, pushing, pushing all the time. Doesn’t always end well.

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    1. Yes! I know so many runners who say it kills them to rest and take time off from running (assuming they aren’t injured. That’s a whole different story). You’re right, it doesn’t end well. I’m glad you’re able to appreciate some time off when you need it.

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  3. I don’t tend to take a full break from running as I find I need it for my mental health, but there are definitely times I scale it back in terms of times per week and number of miles ran. I like to focus on strength training during those times as I feel when I get into heavy training the number of times I strength train goes down or completely vanishes. The longest break I had so far this year was after the marathon when I took almost 2 full weeks off.

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    1. I’m sure your body appreciated the 2 weeks off after your marathon.
      That’s a good point about fitting in more strength training during down times from running. It’s the perfect opportunity to do more things like that that got pushed down on the priority list.

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  4. I’m one of those who hate to take time off.

    But I do not run a lot of miles or train hard.

    That’s why I don’t feel tired.

    But enjoy your downtime. You deserve it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Right now, I’m on a forced sabbatical from running due to a broken ankle and foot. I’m not happy about it. I think a voluntary break is much easier–it’s a different mindset! You’ve been running a lot and a break is always a good idea.

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    1. I like being active on vacation too, usually in the form of hiking but I don’t feel antsy if I don’t get in exercise for the day. I know plenty of people like you who feel otherwise, though. Then there’s the flip side with people who just sit around the pool for their entire vacation (not that there’s anything wrong with that), which I can’t imagine doing myself.

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  6. Enjoy your time off.
    “Listen to your body” is a lesson difficult to learn for me. I can accept to run slower or for shorter distances but I feel bad if I don’t succeed in following my “every other day” routine.
    However now, in this part of Italy, we are under a heat wave and the workouts are very tough.

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    1. Thank you! Everyone is different. For you, maybe running every other day is what works. As long as you don’t have injuries and you’re not running at least one day a week that’s most likely fine.
      I know what you’re going through with the heat wave. I’m in the Southern United States and it’s been so very hot and humid here lately as well. Even running first thing in the morning is tough. Best with your running endeavors!

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