For those that like to run outdoors, seasonal changes can seriously interrupt training. Although this is not unexpected, it is still unfortunate. The problem is that taking time off means you can lose your level of fitness. A collegiate coach over at Runner's World says that when exercise ends, de-training begins and that within three to six weeks of inactivity, your fitness can drop to pre-training levels. Yikes!
Fear not, there are ways to maintain your fitness base. Here are some highlights from that aforementioned college coach's winter running program:
- Maintain Miles: Keep a running base of at least three nonconsecutive days a week of no less than 50 percent of your usual mileage. Cross-training can help keep your fitness high and your body injury free, but remember that only running makes you running fit.
- Run Fast: Keep up your interval training for speed work. Fartlek sessions (bursts of speed for various distances and times throughout the run) are a great choice for speedwork sessions, and this kind of workout works your fast-twitch muscle fibers that would otherwise remain dormant when only doing easy miles.
- Plan Ahead: Put the date of your first spring race on your calendar. Then your second. Having races planned for your near future will provide motivation.