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Off-Season vs. Base Training vs. Pre-Season with 2:34 Marathoner Matt Meyer

Everyone needs down time from hard training to prevent injury and burnout. Learning how to plan your running during this off season can lead to a much more successful race season!

Photo by Christian Brecheis (

While it may seem like it’s just semantics, the way you approach the time between your race specific training (and what you call it!) can make or break your upcoming training cycle. Off Season running has the connotation of extended time away from all training, while “base training” or a “pre-season” suggests preparation for what’s ahead.

There is a time and place for days without any training at all, especially after a tough goal race or a PR at any distance. Recovery is important both physically and mentally, and jumping back into training too quickly can lead to problems down the road.

Rest is essential, but taking weeks away from running can be detrimental. During the period when runners ramp back up from low or no mileage, they are much more prone to injury compared to those who maintain more consistency.  And the loss of fitness can be tough to reclaim, making it more challenging to tackle new goals in the race season ahead.

Off Season Running with Matt Meyer

On the podcast this week to discuss the best way to plan your pre-season running is Matt Meyer, who competes with The Track Club in Boulder, CO.  Matt is both a running coach and strength coach, and he joined me on a previous episode of the podcast to talk about high-mileage training.

He recently ran a marathon PR of 2:34:35 in Berlin, and set a back squat PR of 265 pounds. Who says fast marathoners can’t be strong?!  

Matt and I address the concept of a pre-season versus an off-season and why time away from heavy training is a great opportunity to address any weaknesses or imbalances you may have. Our conversation will help you get the most out of both your pre-reason and race-specific training. 

We discuss:

  • Why Matt’s recent PR training cycle necessitated more time off
  • The importance of true rest for physical and psychological recovery
  • Why pre-season is a great time to become a more well-rounded runner
  • How to use past training cycles to plan the length of your pre-season and race-specific training
  • Using pre-season training as a chance for a new stimulus
  • Limiting pre-season intensity to avoid burnout

Matt’s positive energy and nuanced approach to training will benefit runners of all levels!

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Links & Resources from the Show:

Thank you MOBO Board!

Invented by renowned physical therapist Jay Dicharry, MOBO helps you stabilize your stance with an innovative rocker board that’s set up on two fins. The design effectively forces you to drive your big toe into the board to improve your stability. I was pretty arrogant going into my first session on the MOBO Board. How hard can it be to balance, right? Well, I was humbled pretty quickly!

Even if you’re a good runner, better balance, stability, and proprioception is going to help you have a more powerful stride and prevent more running injuries. You’ll learn how to improve the efficiency of the kinetic chain from your hip to your big toe. Because as Jay likes to say, it’s not just how strong you are, but how well you use that strength.

I was just at a weekend physical therapy workshop (lol I was the only running coach) and learned how important (and rare) this simple movement is. Save 10% with code STRENGTHRUN10 at checkout at

Thank You AG1!

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For our listeners, they are offering a year’s worth of free Vitamin D and 5 free travel packs of AG1 with your first purchase. You can sign up for single shipment or for a monthly drop – the choice is yours. Check out AG1 to redeem your offer today.

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