A Transitional Time of Year
November is a transitional month for many runners.† For some, the cross country season is concluding.† For other runners, it is prime season for racing distances over 10K, mainly half and full marathons.† For another group of runners, it is winding down a calendar year of running and racing and taking a break from the routine.† For everyone, November is a transitional month as the weather turns colder and Mother Nature provides us with less daylight to run in for those training through.
For runners winding down their running activities, I am not a proponent of runners going into training hibernation Ė that is, totally shutting down from running.† If one has experienced a long, grinding season, it is understandable to get away and take a break from the rigors of the sport.† But to continue to build oneís base and make progress during the next racing cycle, taking off an extended period of time from your training will deter your progress.
How much time off should one consider?† If you feel physically and mentally drained or have been board line with injury or illness, I recommend taking 10 days to two weeks off.† Find other activities to do that direct your attention away from running.† Do those things you could not do when you were training and racing.
If you begin feeling refreshed after several days, or you start becoming antsy and really miss running, then that is a good indicator you can start back running.† Start back doing about half as much as you were running when your season concluded or decided to take a break.† This approach will help your body and mind during the transitional break.
If you are one of those runners who are still in training and racing mode, keep it going but donít drag out your season too long.† Is it really worth winning that low-key race in December when you can be gearing up for bigger goals in the spring?
If you must continue, why not take advance of the cooler temperatures and build your base by increasing your long runs.† If your longest run is seven or eight miles, work on getting in a couple of runs over 10 miles each week.† The stronger your base, the more likely you will be able to handle those tougher workouts later on in your training cycle.
Do not allow this time of year to distract you from your routine and goals.† One must make some adjustments, but you can capitalize on the changing seasons to become a stronger runner by remaining diligent.
If you are healthy, do not take off the rest of the calendar year from running and expect to make any gains.† It will be that much harder to come back.† Remember when you were out-of-shape the last time?† Do you remember the pain?† Do recall the frustration?† Why go through that again.†
While the weather has gradually gotten cooler (record high temps the last week of October?) as November approaches, the most noticeable change this time of year is fewer hours of daylight.† You may find yourself stumbling around in the dark before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m. and it really shifts once Daylight Savings Time ends.
Be sure to find safe areas to run if you do it in the dark.† Pavement can beat you up, but it does provide sound footing if you train in the dark.† Take advantage of those days when there is a full moon.† It can help light your way if you do not have a lighted running route.
Please remember a few safety tips that many runners seem to forget, like wearing light colored and reflective clothing if you must run in the dark.† There are too many drivers these days that operate their vehicles distracted by their phones, GPS, and/or radio.† Donít become something that gets thumped in the night!
Other common-sense things to practice are run facing traffic, run on sidewalks when available, and run with a flashlight or similar item for added safety.† Be seen!† Donít spend this time of year learning how to walk again should you come in direct contact with a 2,000-pound vehicle.
You can change your training methods during the seasonal transition and come out a better runner as long as you keep your eye on your prize!