How Much Running Should I Do in the Off Season?

Here’s a great question that was sent in by a reader named Melissa,

What does your off season workout routine look like? I am looking to take my running ability to the next level and have been doing a lot of research. I don’t have a half marathon planned until the Spring though so I have made my decision in what would be an off season. What do you suggest for training during this period? Any advice would be great. Thanks so much! -Melissa T.

Here’s what I wrote back,

Running in the Off Season

This is such a great question because as the winter (or the summer in hotter climates) approaches many runners take a few months off from racing or cut back to shorter running distances.

Your running goals for the spring definitely play into how much training you do over the winter. So your “off season” may consist of anything from 2 weeks to 2 months. I personally like to stay in marathon shape so that I can jump into a marathon last minute if I want to.

Of course this doesn’t mean that I’m doing long runs every weekend or a ton of speed work. But I do like to keep my regular running and cross training routine going. I typically cut back my mileage a bit for a couple months over the winter and focus more on things like yoga and strength training.

If you want to stay in good shape to be ready for a strong spring half marathon I’d recommend running your normal days per week…whether that’s 3, 4, 5, etc. Just cut back on the distance and intensity some and focus more on maintenance training.

If you keep your long runs alternating in the 5-10 mile range you’ll be able to easily jump into a half marathon training plan (for marathons 6-14 miles).

Use the winter months as a time to strengthen any weak areas…such as core strength, stretching, or doing some other kind of indoor or outdoor sport that you enjoy. Staying active through the winter will make it much more enjoyable.

Keeping it fresh by relaxing your running a bit and focusing on different activities will give you a good mental and physical break too.


winter off season

One Response to How Much Running Should I Do in the Off Season?

  1. Micheline picard December 18, 2015 at 9:55 pm #

    I’m so glad someone asked that question! Thanks, Angie for the answer. I’m very happy to see what I’m doing this winter will help me to run that 1/2 marathon in May, even though not doing a whole lot of long run but will be doing a lot of cross-country skiing.

    I’m enjoying listening to your old podcasts where you answered also a lot of my questions.
    You both often make me laugh. You have such a good sense of humor. I only hope people seeing me walking down the street with that huge grin on my face, won’t think me a bit coucou in the head!


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