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.
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?