Tips for Marathon Training in the Off-Season

For most of us, our big race of the year has come and gone. weíve had our little celebration during recovery and now what? Itís too early to ramp up for the spring season but sitting around and getting squishy isnít an option either. Itís the off-season for many runners But off doesnít mean a literally off, or it really shouldnít. Itís the time of the year to train differently in order to have a stellar spring.

After a marathon, my heart is eager to get back out there and give it all Iíve got, but my body is not. It takes weeks to fully recover from a long race. So as my miles are low, my mindset has to shift. I love to take this season to try out other types of workouts. I take spin classes, focus more on lifting and try out the newest machine in the gym.

Some might think that means taking it easy, but that’s not the point either. Sure, thereís a time period to give you legs and mind a break, but thatís only for about a week or so. This time is to build up muscles that were neglected in long runs, build strength, get flexible, and simply get fit with less impact.

Off-season training can be “phoned-in” if not done properly, especially for runners. We only tend to know one way to work out. For me, I had to get a heart rate monitor to insure I was getting a quality workout when I wasnít running. I can watch my heart rate while I spin or use the elliptical. If itís not up in the fitness range, just like it is when I run, then I know I need to pick it up.

Heart rate monitors are also one of the best ways to see how many calories youíve burned. The readouts on the machines are not very accurate and almost always over calculate. Many leave the gym thinking theyíve torched 500 calories, when itís probably more like 350. The little things add up in the off season and the possibility of adding too much weight is real. Just make sure youíre being honest with yourself, and youíll be fine.

After a few months of taking spin, doing extra lifting, even doing extra stretching with classes like pilates and yoga, an athlete is primed and ready to start taking on the extra miles. Their hearts are strong, their muscles are stronger, and theyíre loose and ready to run. Additionally, their body is healed and not stressed from too many miles on the pavement.

Embrace the off season. Itíll make you a better runner.

By Lacy Hansen from


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Magdalena J.
Magdalena C.about a year ago

Thank you!

Tanya W.
Tanya W.1 years ago


Benjamin Alexandre

The biggest mistakes most beginners make is to take it TOO easy during the off season! The top 25% of successful marathon runners do the real damage in their off season! STRENGTH TRAINING is a VITAL part of the process. If you're having a hard time finding the motivation especially this holiday season! There's an awesome article you can read here:

Aaron Bouchard
Aaron Bouchard1 years ago

thank you

Anne F.
Anne F.1 years ago

Excellent idea to build in a rest (or at least not destructive) part of the year, even for athletes.

Lynn C.
Lynn C.1 years ago


Winn Adams
Winn Adams1 years ago


Patricia H.
Patricia H.1 years ago

thanks for sharing

Shanti S.
S S.1 years ago

Thank you.

Aaron Bouchard
Aaron Bouchard1 years ago

thank you