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After 8 months of training my body and mind is telling me its time for about a 4 week break from running so that it can recover and rest up for the racing season. So I am thinking swimming along with arm weights/sit-ups. I am already hating it cuz I love running plus I am wondering about weight gain (the holiday season is upon us!).

Any thoughts on time off? How does everyone plan theirs? How long? What do you do, if anything, in terms of cross training? Do you find it beneficial to take time off totally from running or do you just run easy during your break? How many breaks do you take per year?

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I believe planned breaks are important components in any training plan. They give the body a chance to recover as well as allowing a mental recharge from all the hard training and racing. By the end of a recovery period, I usually feel alot better physically and mentally and have a renewed desire to get back into hard training again.

I usually plan a 4-week recovery block after a goal race...Annually this will add up to 1-2 blocks depending on how many racing seasons I have had. This may include a few days to a week or more off from running. For example after my recent marathon debut last month, I took 8 consecutive days off running. The rest of it consisted of scattered easy maintainence runs and light cross training.

This is also a good time to indulge, go on a holiday, or focus on other things that you didn't have time for when you were training hard.

Don't worry too much about losing fitness...As long as you maintain it through the activities (running and non-running) that you do, you will gain it back quickly plus you'll feel alot stronger when you resume training
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time off is great. i try for a fewd days of very light to nothing. then a few weeks of light after a major training seesion or for a small race or short trainng maybe only a week or two.

like Tim says, it's great to get other things done.enjoy, hit a party on a saturday night instead of getting ready for the LSD on Sunday.

but after a little bit, the bug bites and you need to get back.
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