So now that the triathlon season is well and truly over (well, in the UK anyway!) it’s time to unwind. At this time of year, I like to spice up my training by doing all those things I love to do but don’t find the time for during my season. And trail running is at the top of that list! Not only does it strengthen your muscles and tendons, but getting off the pavement and onto rougher routes increases sense of balance, too. Going off-road also keeps things fresh thanks to variety; woodlands, hills or trails… just head for whatever you have close by. All you need is a pair of shoes with a profile that’ll support your running on uneven terrain.
The session length really depends on what you feel like doing that day; it’s all about tuning into our body and having fun, so there are no strict time limits. But, in terms of injury prevention, I’d stick to a minimum of 5-10mins warm-up of light running, then at least 20-30mins for the main set followed by 5mins cooling down.
The run session
Use the commute to your run location to warm up. Ideally no more than 20mins light jog. This should all feel really easy, so your muscles can warm up properly before the actual session.
If you feel like you want to add some speed, do so. But if you feel like doing a rather slow run that’s totally fine as well. The key is to really listen to your body and give it what it needs. No need to push through a certain mileage or pace if you really don’t feel like it. Believe me, your next season will be back sooner than you expect and by then you’ll be glad that you’ve taken some time to reset your mind and recharge fully!
Just like the warm-up, use your way back home to cool down. As soon as you get home, don’t forget to stretch.
Adapt for beginners
Don’t be afraid to slow down to a walk on the steeper hills – this is where your muscles will be taking the most strain.
Adapt for Ironman
Enjoy the feeling of doing shorter, more enjoyable runs, but if you feel the need, add in another run like this to increase volume through frequency.
Patrick Lange top run tips for off-season
Work on technique
While this is never something to ignore, there’s more time to focus on run technique in the off-season. And even small improvements can add up to more speed in your next race.
During the off-season I like to run without tech that keeps track of metrics, such as speed and heart rate. I go on feel alone and enjoy not having to check metrics over and over again.
Run with others
There’s nothing quite as energising as a run with friends. Improving your running usually requires solo sessions, but in the off-season, train with like-minded people and make it fun.