What Professional Runners Do in the Off-Season

Think professional runners are always running? Think again. We talked with a number of pros—from ultra runners and marathoners to shorter distance track stars—about how they spend their off-season.

One thing you'll learn from these professionals is the importance of downtime to let your body—and mind—fully recover from the stresses of running.

Magda Boulet, Trail Running/Ultrarunning

Magda Boulet

What other activities do you do during the off-season?

During my off-season, I don't like to do much, except for hiking. I love to hike and explore with my son, Owen.

Are you more focused on rest during this time, or do you work even harder since you are not racing?

I fully embrace the off-season and really focus on recovery. I know how much my body will appreciate this time once I return to a daily training routine. (If I let my body fully recover,) I always return excited for the next season and have a lot more fun.

How does your diet change (if it does) during this time?

My diet during the off-season is a little more fun and creative. Since I have more time and energy, I tend to experiment with cooking a little more and try different ingredients in my meals. I love to cook so I put a lot more emphasis on creativity during the off-season.

What is your favorite thing to do during the off-season?

I sleep in more. When I am in the full swing of training, I tend to rise and shine pretty early every day. I take advantage of my downtime in the off-season and let my son be my alarm clock. I am grateful for mornings when he jumps in my bed to play, (and) I am still there to cuddle with him.

Deena Kastor, Marathon

Deena Kastor
(Photo Credit: Asics America)

When is the "off-season" for you?

The off-season is the second after I cross the finish line of a marathon and extends for about four or five weeks.

What kind of schedule do you hold during the off-season in terms of how many days you run, how far and pace?

When I take the month off of training, I fill my days enjoying time with friends, entertaining more at the house or traveling for my sponsor, ASICS. If I do any physical activity, I may choose a hike I've never been on before, but this is dependent on snow in the backcountry.

What other activities do you do during the off-season?

My days are more packed with other obligations, speaking engagements, family gatherings, event promotions and sponsor visits, so I am working in a different capacity. These are things I would rarely have time or energy for while training.

Are you more focused on rest during this time, or do you work even harder since you are not racing?

I believe in taking a complete mental and physical hiatus from activity so my body can recover.

How does your diet change (if it does) during this time?

My diet is different because I'm not as hungry as when I am training. I crave lighter and colder food when on a break and heartier foods while training.

What is your favorite thing to do during the off-season?

In the off-season, I like to take the dog for longer walks and entertain at the house more frequently.

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About the Author

Erica Schuckies

Erica Schuckies is a writer for Active.com. After graduating from Colorado State University, she spent time working in the rodeo industry, followed by three years with Berkshire Hathaway's Business Wire. Erica enjoys fitness, running, hunting, fishing and being outdoors. Follow Erica on on Twitter, Instagram or Google+.

Erica Schuckies is a writer for Active.com. After graduating from Colorado State University, she spent time working in the rodeo industry, followed by three years with Berkshire Hathaway's Business Wire. Erica enjoys fitness, running, hunting, fishing and being outdoors. Follow Erica on on Twitter, Instagram or Google+.

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