6. End-of-Season Rest Protocol

Jim Maxwell's Advice:  End-of-Season Rest Protocol

As the Cross Country Season ends, and you have run your last race of this season, a structured rest will help your body and mind to fully recover from the intensity of the racing season. This protocol has been developed over years of  personal experience, and reinforced by articles and books that I have read, as well as discussions with many athletes and coaches.   You will not lose your high level of fitness but  you will lose a bit of "race ready" conditioning.  We  always train with the race goal of  peaking at the end of  the season.  (League finals, C.I.F.  state meet. )

After the last race, this rest and recovery plan will allow the body to train again with a freshness and intensity that will build for
track or whatever your next sport is.  We also need to let our minds, our psyche, and our emotions rest and recover.  Remember as athletes we are the sum of our bodies and minds. We ask you to race at your best, 110% week after week, and you respond spectacularly.  That took an enormous amount of physical and emotional capital.  Now to respect our bodies and minds, it is time to rest and recover, and then rebuild.

Rest Protocol

Take a few days off
No running for 4 or 5 days.  Overall we will reduce  volume and drop intensity.
Dropping intensity: No speed work, no intervals, no long crazy hill work,  nothing real long for about three weeks.

Reduce volume
1st week back to running, run 30 minutes every other day.
2nd week add one more run of 45 minutes.
3rd week add one more run of 60 minutes.

You are now up to 5 runs a week and can look at this point as the starting point of rebuilding base.  If you are a runner who runs 6 or 7 times a week add back one run per week.  Increase distance at no more than 10% per week.

This will continue until the coaches add  "quality' workouts as the track season approaches.

Recall the two bank account theory of training. We have both a physical and an emotional bank account that we continually add to and draw from. We add to both accounts as we train. On race day and even on intense training days we draw down both accounts.

Our bodies acquire conditioning at several different rates. Heart/ lung is  fastest, followed by muscles, followed by connective tissue, (tendons and ligaments), followed by skeletal. This is why we build distance and intensity slowly so as not to get ahead of the slower systems as adaption to training occurs.

End of season rest allows all of the body and mind to fully recover and repair itself.

You will be able to achieve even higher levels as you respect your body's and mind's needs.

Take care, see you on the trails.

Jim Maxwell