If you are anything like me and you have finished your race season (I know, it sucks right?), then you are probably thinking what to do with yourself. No, staring out of the window, waiting for the 2019 season to start isn’t going to help it come any faster, but there are definitely things you can do in this ‘down time’ to maximise your next racing season. Here are some of the areas I focus on during the winter months to get me ready for when it all starts again.
Managing your recovery and paying attention to any of the niggles you felt during your racing season are key to working harder and being better the next time round. I made the mistake at the end of last year not getting my ankle injury (happened way back in the 2017 October Spartan Beast) fully checked out and recovered. If I had spent more time on my recovery, who knows how much faster my race times could of been or how much more effective I could have become during my workouts. Don’t leave it to chance! If something is troubling you, get it checked by a professional physio and take their advice. It will benefit you in the long run (no pun intended).
Work out your weaknesses
Throughout you racing season, you probably notice the areas you feel like you need improving on. Whether that is your grip strength, your endurance or anything that relates to your event activity, highlight it! Pick it out and work on it. Most people’s go-to workouts are the things that they enjoy most or are really good at. There is nothing wrong with that, but if you aren’t working on what you’re not good at, your missing a trick. Imagine the positive impact this could have on you’re race or run? Spend a little time breaking down why you’re not as good at something and focus on getting better.
Something that often goes hand in hand with recovery is strength building. The first thing I got told when I went to visit my physio, was that I had weak gluteal muscles and underused hamstrings, which ultimately led to smaller problems in other areas (not the scientific explanation, but you get the gist). At first all I heard him call me was a weak ass, but after I got over myself, he broke down ways of me fixing these problems with strength training (check out my visit to the Running Clinic here). We worked out ways of tackling my imbalances and making me a more effective runner. I have seen the benefits since and definitely recommend a visit every once in awhile.
Running isn’t the only area to build strength in. This can also include you grip strength, or the amount you can carry and lift. If you can make gains in these areas, you will often see the benefits they make to your racing game.
Maintain running endurance
I run because I love OCR and they come hand in hand. I don’t generally run just because I love running. Marathon training and regular long runs within that period of time honestly bored the hell out of me. A shocking truth, I know, but I’m definitely not the only one. However, that doesn’t mean I cut it out completely. I need to make sure that I maintain my endurance throughout my off season and I do this with one 10-20km run a week (depending on how I feel on the day) and thats usually with people (shout out the adidas London runners) to keep things interesting.
Upgrade your battle gear
The off season is the perfect time to replace old running gear! Whether you need new running/trail shoes or compression wear, there is no better time to upgrade. I’m a creature of habit so I generally go back to the same items each time. I like the fit, drainage and grip of the Saloman Speedcross 4 (not the latest out of their range but definitely affordable and they do the job well). Call me bias, I love my Adidas Ultraboosts for road running and 2XU have awesome compression clothing.
Just because the race season is over doesn’t mean it’s time to completely shut off and stop. It’s the perfect time to work through the things you may have noticed during your season and iron them out so that when it all starts again, you are ready to preform even better!
What do you do when you finish your race season? Do you have any tips for me? Do you think any of these tips will help you? Let me know in the comments and thanks for reading.