Maintaining fitness is not a free pass to Slackerville.
If you go out and shuffle through every run, you might as well go for a walk. Nothing wrong with walking, but if you DO decide to race again, you’ll be hating life. Here’s a trusty maintenance plan, if you’re so inclined.
Plan on four runs per week (three if you must), then break them down like this- 1 easy/long run, 2 tempo runs, 1 recovery run. Simple. Here are some ideas for tempo runs:
- Plan on 4 miles, go easy for the first 2.5. Pick it up for a mile, then bring it in easy. The point is to get your heart rate up, and learn to recover without walking. (this is a valuable skill to have in your pocket, come race day)
- Bring on the hills. You don’t have to kill the pace, but plan on working hard, and running fast on the downhill. Again, no walking.
- Hit the track. My workout is pretty easy: 1 mile easy run to the track, 800m warm up, 1600m speed (sprint the straights, jog the curves), 800m cool down, 1 mile easy run home.
None of these workouts are going to break you, but they will ensure that you aren’t actually losing fitness while you wait for your next race. Remember, your easy run should also be your long run, if you keep that in the rotation.
Don’t shuffle through the downtime, keep it interesting and somewhat challenging. Your legs — and your head — will thank you. –Amie