Since I’m not training for a particular race at the moment, I am kind of in “running maintenance” mode. Many runners find themselves in somewhat of a conundrum when they aren’t actively training for a race. Do you back off mileage? Do you still do speed work? Do you do long runs? Having a rough plan for maintenance helps keep your running on track, so that when you decided to start training for a particular race, you have a great base.
What does a Running Maintenance Plan look like?
While different people have different maintenance plans, mine looks pretty simple and straightforward. Most of my runs are at easy or steady state pace, and I don’t do any tough speed workouts; unless I feel like it or I decide at the last minute to do a race!
My usual weekday run is about 6 miles (with or without the stroller). I might have a quicker run one day and a slower the next. It all depends on how I feel when I head out for a run. I also do a long run on the weekends (usually Saturday). My long runs have been 10 or 12 miles long, and they will likely stay at that distance until I start half marathon training again in the spring. At that point, I will go up to 15 miles.
Maintenance Training During the Winter
Winter is the perfect time to embrace maintenance training, since there are very few winter races (unless you live in a warm climate!), and the weather can sometimes prevent speedier workouts or long runs. This was definitely the case last winter here in New England!
Running maintenance during the winter season is also a great time to add in some cross-training to help prevent overuse injuries that can creep up after the heavier fall training season and before spring racing season begins. Some great options for winter cross-training are snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, ice skating, hiking, and swimming indoors.
Starting a Training Plan After Maintenance
Having a maintenance plan in place allows you to quickly pick up with race-specific training when the time arises. If you keep a weekly long run during maintenance, you may find that you can even start a plan that is a little more challenging. For example, many beginner programs have you slowly ramping up mileage and long runs on the weekend.
If you keep up a steady base during the winter and still run long, you might opt for an intermediate or advanced plan that lengthens your long runs a bit and adds some speed sessions to them to help lower your times. If you keep up with training through the winter, on a less intense level, there are so many benefits to reap when spring racing season begins!