The cold temperatures and extended darkness, get all of us a little down after a month. Adding a new activity, can be just the thing to bring some brightness back into your routine.
Many runners take the winter as their “rest season.” Miles are decreased and the focus becomes maintaining a certain amount of fitness or foundation through the winter. Taking a rest season has definite benefits. You’re less likely to get burned out if you have one season where training and building miles are not such a dominate feature of your daily routine. It also allows your body to recover from all the micro tears and any injuries you experienced during the race season, which haven’t fully healed.
Winter seems like the perfect time to decrease your miles too, because it’s cold and dark outside. Family and friends are visiting and you want to be able to spend time with them. There are holiday parties for different social circles you’re involved with and it would be nice to stay out a little later rather than check out early because you have a long run on Saturday morning.
The down side of dropping your miles is for some runners, it can lead to mild depression, which is compounded by the dreariness of winter, cornucopia of sweet foods, and stress of the holidays.
How do we take advantage of this rest season without gaining weight and falling into depression? Try something new. All those things that were put on hold because your training took over your weekends, now is the time. The karate or dance classes you always wanted to do, go ahead and register for them. The Zumba or Pilates class at the gym, get in there and give it a try. Never had enough time to add strength training, you do now. You can even try something more seasonal, such as, snow shoeing, skiing, or snowboarding.
Everyone around you is asking you what you want for Christmas, tell them you want to be registered for a class or a pass to the ski slopes. Learning a new physical activity not only keeps the extra pounds at bay and the depression, it also builds collateral supporting muscles, so when you are ready to start your training again, you will be in better shape.
Even if you don’t want to get into another sport, you can learn something else new pottery, sewing, ceramics, brewing beer, wood working, whatever. It doesn’t really matter, just take some time to do the things you have put on hold while you were focused on getting up early and building your miles.
Once the snow melts and the warmth of the sun returns, you will be ready to make 2015 the best race season ever.