Training for Tuesday: Planning My Off-Season

I made it to the end of my 2014 races! Finally! If you think you've been listening to my training forever, just think how I feel.

I kid, I kid.

Kind of.

After the Richmond Half Marathon nine days ago, a truly great year of running came to a close. I'll do a 2014 running by the numbers recap at the end of next month, but y'all, I don't think I could have dreamed of a better year. It was absolutely the best year of my (short) running career. I accomplished far more than I ever planned and far exceeded any and all expectations I had for myself this year. I have a couple more small races lined up before the year is really over, but those will be more for fun than anything (although, for the record, I wouldn't say no to another PR...). But besides those, all the big ones are behind me, putting me now in my off-season.

I use the term "off-season" pretty loosely here, since it will only be about a month long. That's because I already have a a goal race lined up for March 2015 (which all five of you who actually read this already know):

Rock 'n' Roll USA half marathon in DC!

I'm super excited about this one, but it will be bittersweet because it means I won't be able to run Shamrock that weekend, which was my first half in 2012, second half in 2013, and last year I completed the Whale Challenge, my first time running back-to-back races: 8k on Saturday, full marathon (my second) on Sunday. Since Shamrock is local and I always have friends running it, it's become a staple in my running calendar.
The good news is that I think the benefits of RnR will outweigh Shamrock. It will be my first RnR series race, my first time running DC, AND (the best part), it's going to be a blogger race party with Alyssa, Becky, and Erin (to name a few). I could not be more excited!!! But, it's not quite time to start hardcore training yet, which leaves me with about a month to get my body rested up but still ready for another training cycle. I know December is a hard month to stay on track, but I want to do my best so that I'm as prepared as possible when I start training again. Here's what I'm thinking for the interim period before RnR training starts:

Continue to run 4x a week. I've miraculously managed this schedule for the last couple years, and that's my running happy place. I don't want to hold myself to a strict mileage goal, but I would like to keep my base by running 15-20ish miles a week. I don't think I'll do any specific speed workouts, but I'll probably keep my weekday runs the same (3-5 miles each) and do a long run of 7-10 miles on the weekend.

Keep short runs to ~8:00 per mile (or under), and long runs sub-9:00. My biggest fear is that I'll somehow regress and lose all the speed I've built up. I've put in so much work over the last year and I hope to keep getting faster, so maintaining my speed is really important to me. 

Cycle once a week. I just got on my bike last week for the first time since Giant Acorn Oly in September. Although cycling outside probably isn't going to happen, I have no reason not to hop on the trainer for an hour a week. Cycling is such great cross training and a habit I need to get back into. 

Get back in a strength training routine. I have made so many excuses for why I've let weightlifting fall by the wayside, but I'm ready to change that. Specifically, I'm thinking of doing the New Rules for Women program again. I know I asked this before, but would anyone be interested in a review of the program as I go through it?

So that's my game plan for the next 4 or 5 weeks before the real fun begins! How's your training going? Are you enjoying your off-season or gearing up for your next race? Grab a button, link up, and share!



  1. Running a R&R in DC sounds so, so cool! Do you go past the National Mall/monuments?

  2. I am so impressed with your training this year! I've said it before, but you are inspiring me to think faster!!!!
    The DC R&R sounds awesome! So excited for you.

    1. Thanks so much, Julie! I have found that fast = fun ;)

  3. Your "off season" sounds intense! My off seasons usually mean I don't run. This method is probably not helpful for my running career. Ha! Also, I'm not going to lie, I hate strength training, but whenever I stick to a regular strength training routine I feel so much better and it really helps me with running. Good luck with the off time, and congrats on a year full of awesome running accomplishments!

  4. yes to the review of the strength training :)
    I'm so jealous of you all going to run in DC, I wish I knew about it earlier I would totally have piggybacked and inserted myself in your little party :)
    good luck with all of your goals, I'm sure you'll do totally awesome. December is hard to stay on track but if anyone can do it, you can!

  5. So fun to running the race with all those great girls!! Enjoy your month off - you deserve it!!

  6. I'll be honest - I'm so sad I can't make it for that half, sounds like a blast!! ;) I, too, am going to keep trying to run 4x a week! I'm excited for training to begin for my half in May! Gonna be so fun!!!!!! You're always such a great motivator.

  7. WOOOOOOO (again) for RnR. Can't wait!
    Also, so many rounds of applause for all the butt you've kicked this year. I've told you a thousand times what an inspiration you are to me, but I'm gonna tell ya again. And then another thousand times too ;)
    I like 4x/week too — ya know, when I'm actually running and not slacking like I have been, hardcore, all month long. Oh and I vote for a review of that program 100%.
    PS—I'm looking for small races for January/February (but mostly for the second weekend of January ;)) and finding NOTHING! I don't know if it's too early or what but there’s just this huge gap between Turkey Trot races and like... April. Which is annoying because I'd really like to get in a 5k to 10k before RnR! Hopefully something surfaces soon.
    Anyway. You're a boss lady, and I love doing this linkup with you. That's all. :)

  8. I CAN'T WAIT FOR MARCH! I'll probably be saying that 50 times between now and then :)
    I'm a 4x a week runner too! For me it provides a good balance of rest days and cross training days between runs. I'm trying to decide what I'll do during my off-season as well, it'll be about 3 weeks.
    It makes me really excited and happy for you on how this year went !! You knocked off running goals left and right!! :)

  9. Ohhh a blogger race party almost makes me want to run! Almost....

    Good luck with your goals!

  10. So proud of you and that blogger race party sounds PERFECT!!!

  11. I'm so glad you had a good year! This was probably my worst running year, but next year will be my best!! The R&R DC sounds like it'll be a blast. I'm finally marathon training again, so I'll start linking up with you next week!

  12. Fun! I am running Shamrock the following weekend but I may do the 5K.

    1. OH MY GOSH YOU JUST MADE MY LIFE! I was totally assuming Shamrock was the same weekend (it usually is that weekend) but I just checked and saw that it's the weekend after. YES!!!!!

  13. Congrats on so many awesome races this year-- and for a little break to rest and recover being you start training for for the half marathon! Which I will totally come and cheer you guys on! So fun that you're able to run it together :)

  14. Ahhh I LOVE DC!!! I put my name in the lottery for cherry blossom in April there and am crossing my fingers that I will get in again because that has quickly become my favorite race :) you're gonna do great for that!! And your training program sounds really great to keep going!!