Reasons to train . . .

btrain

. . . even if you don’t race

You don’t have to race to run, and I have plenty of friends who just love to run. Period.

What if you do enjoy a race, now and again, or more frequently? What happens when you have some racing downtime, for whatever reason — should you simply run for fun, or maybe train — just a little? All the cross training? Strength train?

I do think that getting back to strength training and cross training when you have more time does a body good. What about running?

Fairytales and Fitness

Training does a body good
Our bodies quickly adapt to any exercise we throw at it. That’s why it’s a good idea to switch up what sort of exercise you do and why it’s a good idea to change the weights you lift, too.

If you run the same 3 mile loop at the same pace every day, yup, your body is going to adapt to that. There’s nothing wrong with that, if that’s your jam, but you won’t be increasing your cardiovascular fitness and worse — at some point you’ll probably find yourself really bored and you might stop running altogether.

Hills keep your body strong

Variety is the spice of life
Some people love eating the same thing day after day after day. Not only would that bore me, but that boredom could lead me to actually overeat the wrong things.

Running the same distance, at the same pace, in the same place . . . to me, that’s boring. I don’t have to push myself hard if there’s no race in the future, but mixing things up with a little speed work here, a few hills there just keeps things interesting . . . and keeps my body guessing and adapting.

Keep your body injury free
Running can be an addiction and like any other addiction, if you’re clean for a while and relapse, you forget that you no longer have a tolerance to your drug of choice (in this case running).

That’s when you go out, run at a pace or distance you used to train at, and wham! You’re on the bench due to injury. Keeping a little training in your life will help keep you in shape and remind you of where you are now.

Keep running so you’re ready to go

Ready to go
You can be ready to start training earlier by simply keeping in a little light training in your off season/downtime. There’s no reason to run every day, or do speedwork twice a week, but a little something — strides, 400m repeats, “easy”/short hill repeats, a fartlek — once a week will keep your body guessing and adapting, which will make it easier to slide back into heavier training when the time is right.

Don’t get hung up on it, though
Having a busy week? Feeling “run” down? Run less days than normal. Make them all easy runs. Maybe even just do cross training instead. Not running for a week or two won’t kill you, and might even do your body a world of good.

An off season/down time is a great time to remind yourself why you feel in love with running in the first place. There’s no reason to push too hard, no reason to run all the miles, and every reason to listen to your body and change up what you have planned based on how you’re feeling.

Always remember: running is something we get to do, not something we have to do. It’s easy to lose sight of that when there’s a race involved — most of us need some amount of training in order to race without injuring ourselves.

Running is patient. Much more patient than runners are. It will wait for us. Occasionally you’ll need to break up with running just a little, or ease up on your mileage and effort to allow your body time to recover. When you’re recovered, if you don’t have any real goals for your running, it’s still a good idea to take it up a notch every once in a while to keep your body guessing, keep you mentally engaged, and make sure you’re prepared and ready for the demands of running harder when you resume your training. — Chocolaterunsjudy

Do you enjoy having some downtime from racing?

Do you still mix things up when you’re not racing?

Or do you just love to run but not so much to race?

20 thoughts on “Reasons to train . . .

    1. As I commented on your IG, there is no timetable for grieving; we all grieve in our own way. But I will say that movement (not necessarily running) can help. It helps take us out of ourselves, helps to improve our mood. Of course you are sad, but you are also till here, and always remember Baylee loved you and wouldn’t want to see you so sad.

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  1. I am always mixing things up, whether I’m in the heat of a training cycle, or in between seasons (hence, my winter run streak…something I only do once a year). I try to always be in “condition” for a 10-miler or a 13.1, but I don’t dwell much on speedwork unless I have a specific big race on the calendar. I think our bodies need some downtime, even if it’s just less mileage. As you know, it’s tough for some of us to sit idle LOL

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    1. It isn’t really tough for me sit idle. It’s party of why I exercise. 🙂

      I will always try to maintain my base, but that doesn’t mean that I’m race ready for longer distances. That’s the half marathoner vs marathoner mindset. 🙂

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  2. Racing is my jam. I sign up for races all year long. So never an off-season but I keep running fun because I don’t train hard and do drills, hill repeats.

    I don’t mind always doing 3 mile easy runs as long as I don’t repeat the location, run in my neighborhood or go on the mill.

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  3. Beautiful and interesting post.
    I agree running the same distance, at the same pace, in the same place is boring, for this reason I have many options with many routes: in this way running is always a pleasure.
    “Running is not something we have to do”: you are right but …. I don’t succeed in changing my mind for me it remains something I must do …. I know I am wrong….

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  4. You know, I’ve been training without a major race to run, and I was thinking about the whys the other day. It honestly feels right for me to do, and I plan to keep with it. Just because I don’t have some huge goal on the horizon doesn’t mean I can’t stick to a training routine to stay in shape.

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    1. I have several friends that just enjoy training for its own sake (and some who loathe training in any way, shape or form, LOL!).

      I do think there are benefits to an off season without any training at times, but for me, right now, with an extended off season, it feels right to keep a little training in there.

      Kind of surprising how much time running still takes up, though!

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