Thanksgiving Week for Runners


Regardless of how much you actually celebrate this holiday (or the next big one coming up), it can also simply serve as a time to gather with family and friends.  With these two holidays comes extra time to yourself (I hope!) and time to relax your mind and decompress…and eat Mom’s world famous mashed potatoes.  Enjoy yourself this week.  Allow yourself time to do some soul searching over the next 5 weeks in total. 

As it relates to Turkey Trots, your goal there is probably an all or none mentality, right?  Meaning, you’re either still riding high on the coattails of peak fall season and you’ll therefore shoot for a 5k/10k PR, or you are in your recovery period with a mellow approach to fitness/training and you’ll jog the course with friends/family.  There’s probably not much grey area, nor would I encourage anything in between at this point.  Pick one: Go for the PR or jog it to enjoy the festivities.  For those pushing the pace that day, then yes, you should absolutely stick to your normal (healthy) routine on Wed so that you feel right on Thurs morning.  This message is not in conflict with the previous paragraph; both messages can coexist.  For the folks I’ve been coaching for at least a year, they also know that this mentality of embracing a recovery week is part of our normal training plan anyway.  You also know that this time of year (for most runners) is an extended, planned Recovery Phase.  I discuss this time of year in more detail in its own section in Chapter 2 of my book, The Art of Run Training. 

From microlevel to mesolevel to macrolevel, we have off/rest days (in a week) + recovery weeks (every 6 - 9 weeks) + a Recovery Phase (2 - 5 weeks at 1 – 2 times per year), respectively.  All 3 levels should be built into a yearly program.  If you believe that an rest day can benefit you, and if you also believe that recovery weeks are a good idea, then you must believe that a Recovery Phase is a fabulous idea.  The latter is typically 2 - 5 weeks following your peak race, and/or before your off-season, and/or during the holidays.  Fortunately for those of us in the Mid-Atlantic region, we have actual winter weather that is separated 2 - 5 weeks from peak race season.  The timing is perfect for a recovery week and a Recovery Phase. 

As we change seasons, we change the type of training we do and simultaneously change the “mental approach to training and racing” (the main service of DCRC).  Recovery weeks/phases don’t mean couch potato, nor does the off-season mean less training.  The former is an intentional recharge period; the latter is the intentional rebuild period.  The Art of Run Training outlines this whole process in more detail.

Train hard (and rest hard)!


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