Periodization of running

10 messages
26/04/2012 at 13:38

How many of you actually take time off running periodically (non related to illness/injury)?

 For example, after a race... and I dont mean just couple of days to a week. More like from couple of weeks to a month?

Read an article where it says its important to do so, just as it is to prepare for your race.

I realised that I have only ever done this once since I started running 6 years ago. I took two weeks off deliberately after my last marathon last year.

Have been having the worst time running lately... after 6 years of running my times are slower than ever... I walk faster! Adding speed training doesnt help if my legs are not cabable moving quicker. So yesterday I decided F**k this I'm never running another meter in my life!

Of course I will.

But for now, I'm taking a deliberate break (For about a week). Doesn't help that I have half marathon in two weeks time though... But I'd rather take a break and run it and suffer, than not take a break and almost stand still because my legs feel like lead!

How about you lot?

Edited: 26/04/2012 at 13:40
26/04/2012 at 13:58

Depending on which training manuals you read, two weeks is arguably a sensible taper period for a half marathon anyway, so I doubt very much you will "suffer" by cutting back now.  I had a very good half marathon myself after an enforced week off due to illness.  It might make sense to at least get a couple of short, sharpish runs in a few days before the race just to remind your legs what they should be doing.  Otherwise you will be in danger of confusing sluggishness with a genuine loss of fitness, which won't really happen in such a short period of time.

I can't honestly say I've taken a genuine periodisation approach beyond the typical idea of loosely basing training around medium- to long-term target races.  Unfortunately I've suffered enough injury set-backs over the past five years (3x at least 3 months of no running) to mean that I've never considered it beneficial to take a deliberate break.  On the other hand, I've always surprised myself how quickly I've got back into shape following the lay-offs, even getting into new PB territory fairly quickly, so maybe I've reaped the benefits of long term repair due to enforced rest.

Edited: 26/04/2012 at 13:58
26/04/2012 at 14:04

I don't take specific run breaks as such, but I have two quite young children and I find that the long summer break is especially challenging to fit running around (husband works away during the week). So I always target that period as my downtime, I do run, but just ticking over kind of stuff. I do find benefit in this, it's usually the time when all my niggles settle down, plus mentally I feel refreshed too. If you are feeling the running is hard at the mo then definitely good to take the focus off a bit. Sometimes when you are under pressure from all angles - running and life, the running is not as beneficial as it should be.

As Phil says above, I'm always surprised how quickly I bounce back into shape. I also know that autumn is my season when I seem to run best - legs are fresh, nice temperatures etc

26/04/2012 at 14:45
Not deliberately no.

However I have basically been an on-off runner for the last 23 years! Have quite often found that after a period of fairly heavy training if I have 2, 3 or even 4 weeks off I am often flying when I restart. Of course there is a limit to this - after 4 months off I'm not flying quite so much!
27/04/2012 at 09:05
It's a really interesting point, and one that I feel instinctively is right.

I generally still love running, and wouldn't find it easy to take time off without being forced to. However, whenever I've been ill, I always come back so much stronger mentally and physically. I had a 10 miler a couple of weeks ago where the middle portion was just miserable: I had a foot injury that I hadn't allowed to recover, and it really sapped my stamina to the point where I actually had to walk for a bit. The only thing that kept me pushing was a Scouse woman smoking a fag who said 'I wish I had that much energy.'

I'll just be coming back in a couple of days from two weeks off from illness. Lots of races coming up, but they're all 10ks as luck would have it. I haven't put any weight on, and I don't seem to have lost any muscle, although my feet, calves and lower back do feel weaker and less flexible.

I feel more and more that the odd week off does you huge amounts of good.
Edited: 27/04/2012 at 09:05
27/04/2012 at 10:08

I deliberately took a week off last year after doing several races in a short period. Apart from that, I normally find things like illness, or more likely holidays, give me enough time off running anyway - about 5 weeks 'rest' per year. Most of my holidays are spent hillwalking, so 'rest' doesn't mean being a complete vegetable. There's also the middle-ground option of taking it a bit easy every so often, but not stopping running completely. Again for me, this is often dictated by other factors - tapers, recovery, blood donation, etc.

Taking a break now, before your HM if you're feeling rubbish, seems an excellent idea. You might find out some interesting stuff about the way your body works.

27/04/2012 at 10:57

I used to take October off or 2 weeks Oct and 2 weeks Nov. Then start again with a 10K in December. I find that no pressure winter training keeps the body sound.

I then started doing the New York Marathon and then Berlin so stopped my mini break in the Autumn. Then there were marathons in the Spring Paris, London and Boston. Went to Boston two weeks ago but did not run as the temperature reached 89F (33C) it was 75F to start! These were done one in Spring and one in Autumn over the years.

My rate of injury and going down with colds certainly increased with the  continuous round the year training. Of course it was so counter productive that my marathon times got worse also. The only concession I made was one long run (20 mile) a month until near the race then it was two long runs. 

Boston was to be my only marathon this year and even though I pulled out I am sticking with that idea and may well attempt it 2013 as allowed by B.A.A. Hopefully I will enjoy summer running and take my month off again in October.

Bionic Ironwolf    pirate
27/04/2012 at 12:03
Not quite the same - but our tri club trainer uses periodization throughout the season, particularly in swimming but somewhat in all 3 disciplines. She has us give her an outline showing races we are  planning to do and designating them as A (main focus),B (training race), or C ( minor) race. We rarely have a complete break during race season unless ill or injured. Kathrin has our training build up for about 3 weeks, then we have an easy cut-back week, then start again at a level slightly higher than where we were before the easy week. Taper generally a week to 2 weeks prior to an "A" race, less if a minor race. At the end of the season we get a complete training break of 3 weeks or so. If she feels it necessary, Kathrin will designate a longer recovery period - she banned me from the pool for almost 2 months after a shoulder injury.
Edited: 27/04/2012 at 12:06
27/04/2012 at 13:07
Only a few days off in Dec/Jan to go skiing. My running was like yours at the beginning of last year though, went backwards for about 5 months, was diagnosed with severe anaemia so might be worth getting a blood test.
27/04/2012 at 17:06
Thanks guys for your views. It's interesting to read that it has actually been beneficial to most people.

Second day off running and my feet are itching already. I feel like I "should" run but my mind says I really couldn't be arsed anyway.

So I'm off to try something new tonight... a circuit training! And if the weather is not TOO bad on Sunday morning, I'll try a boot camp. Alsoo done a bit on a bike today. So it's not like I'm totally a couch potato either.

No chance I will go for a time when I run my half in couple of weeks, which annoys me, but it would be nice to be able to run it and enjoy it and feel strong. Better option than hating every minute.

I should start my marathon training next week as well but who cares if I miss couple of weeks from the beginning.

If this break helps, I will consider it later on in the year as well.

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