Off-Season Fitness: A Simple Guide to the Slower Months of the Year

Winter is here, and with it comes some well-deserved rest. Many runners have lowered their weekly mileage while some stopped running completely, focusing instead on other ways to keep fit and giving their bodies some much-needed recovery time. Until race calendars fill up, off-season fitness will be the number one topic for many in the world of running.

Written by Karen Peterson, Run365 Virtual Coach
Edited by Pavlína Marek

Off-Season Fitness, Here We Come.

Here we are in December! How did that happen? With the shorter daylight hours, winter weather (however that looks in your neck of the woods), and, for many, a hectic time that may include travel and gatherings, it can be challenging to stay motivated and active.

As our nutritionist Becca mentioned in her most recent post, the off-season can be a great time to mix things up a little and take advantage of a more flexible training schedule. It’s a good time for shorter, high-intensity workouts, agility training, and flexibility work.

Here are five ways you can keep up with your off-season fitness.

Keep it Short and Sweet

Research is showing that super short, high-intensity workouts can be incredibly effective. The key is maximizing your efforts. This can be done with minimal equipment: set up your timer for ten minutes and go up and down a flight of stairs, or play around with some short interval runs.

This is also a good time to work on your speed walking, an important tool once you start your training schedule. Do a fast walk for one minute, then run at maximal effort for one minute.

Remember that hills are your friends! Ten minutes of hill repeats can do wonders in keeping you tuned up.

Stretch it out

There are a number of free online yoga classes to help you stay supple, strong, and centered during the winter months. My favorite is Yoga with Kassandra. You can search classes by length and find routines as short as ten minutes.

Yin yoga, which is slower in pace, can be especially effective for runners. It can really open up our hips and other areas that tend to tighten with running. As a bonus, the mindfulness that comes with yoga practice can help during the more challenging times of the year.

Keep Connected

Group runs hosted by your local running store, winter-themed 5Ks, virtual challenges, and more social events are abundant this time of year. Commit to a get-together or an event. Look for a virtual challenge that seems meaningful and fun. Simply said, stay in touch with running and your community. It might not sound like the most important part of your off-season fitness training but it will keep your mind, not just your body, in a good shape.

Hit the Trails

Don’t let the weather dissuade you! Winter can be a great time to get out on your local trails and breathe in some truly fresh air. Running and hiking on soft surfaces is kind on your joints and requires agility and the use of muscles you may not know you have! Try AllTrails or other trail apps to help you find some local dirt.

Just Keep Moving

Even though it’s a very busy time of year for many of us, take the time to get your heart rate up and warm your muscles. Just ten minutes a day will already bring countless benefits, and your body and mind will thank you for taking the time for yourself.

Extra Off-Season Fitness Tip: Eat Well

An important part of your off-season training and wellness is good nutrition. Let our nutritionist Becca Blumberg walk you through the five basic parts of a good off-season nutrition plan.
top 5 veggies for runners
Reach out to Coach Karen at if you have any questions or would like support. We can’t wait to see what you accomplish in 2023!

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