Running When You’re Not Training for Anything

  Jul 9, 2017  |  #Running

What does running look like if you’re not training? Here are 5 reasons why running when you’re not training is GREAT for you!

I’m so excited to talk about why I love running when you’re not training.  Why? Because that’s the phase I’m in currently. Also related to 7 reasons to run that have nothing to do with weight loss.

But before that, how was your weekend? We spent the weekend in Boone, NC, in the mountains. It was very cozy and relaxing to just live life without any sense of time for a couple days. I slept in, drank lots of coffee in nature, hiked with the pups, had s’mores by the fire pit and saw some amazing views.

Weekend getaway

And some cheesy tater tots after hiking. Nothing hit the spot any better!

Weekend getaway

Tater really enjoyed the hike. We stopped in a local water area and she splashed around. She wanted to keep playing but we had to get her back so we could go eat because we were HUNGRY. 

Weekend getaway

Oh, and I can’t forget – a lovely bloody mary with an even lovelier view of the mountains. We stopped for brunch before heading home from the weekend. 

 Weekend getaway

It was a weekend without any running which got me thinking about this post: Running when you’re not training for anything. You may have been wondering why I haven’t written about running lately, and well, it’s because I haven’t been doing a whole lot of it!

Since the Ogden Marathon in May, my running has decreased tremendously and it’s been very relaxed. I went from 35+ miles a week to 10-15. It’s actually been a perfect time to do so because running in the Charlotte heat and humidity is not my friend.

I’ve realized there are quite a few things I’ve enjoyed about not being in training mode that I thought I’d share.

Girl running with text overlay about how to enjoy running | Bucket List Tummy
The perks of Running When You're Not Training

Why do I love running when I’m not following a training plan?


There’s no pressure

I don’t feel like running? No problem. I don’t have to worry about making the miles up at the next run, or struggling to hit my weekly goal. I’ve simply ran when I wanted to, or rested when I didn’t want to.


You don’t have to keep track of your miles

I can run 10-15 miles a week and not worry about losing my fitness. I can cross-train or just do strength training for the week and all is great in the world. I can see and use it as more of a form of self care


No fear of workouts that make you sore the next day

No speed work, interval training, or 3 mile runs! During marathon training, I’d be afraid of doing too much strength because I didn’t want to be too sore for my training runs. Now, that’s not a worry or concern.

overhead view of running necessities

Sleeping in

It’s been absolutely incredible. What else can I say about this?

I feel so much more rested. I don’t have to stress about wanting to stay out later at night. 

Weekends don’t revolve around running

There’s the opportunity to do so much more exploring now. On long run Saturdays, I’d have to give up plans on Friday nights for an early bedtime. Then I’d honestly want to lay around most of the day Saturday after running. Things didn’t get done and I couldn’t be as flexible. Now if I want to hit up the Farmer market, or have friends over for brunch, it’s so easy to do.

Weekend getaway

The ability to try new workouts

I’m back in the hot yoga groove right now and some HIIT workouts. I’ve also been doing some barre workouts from home, and loving feeling a little more toned.

Although I’m enjoying some time away from a “training plan,” I am itching to sign up for my next race. I’m ready to start adding a little more running structure back in – nothing extreme and no marathons until Boston next April – but there’s a part of me that takes pride in training for something and having a goal or objective in mind, and giving it my all to reach that goal.

I think all us runners need time like this with no agenda, to run just because we love it or just when we want to, without a plan dictating our mileage. Taking some time away really challenges our love for the sport, and with that rest and recharge, you can come back stronger. I’m not sure what my next race will be before Boston, but I think this time off has been key in just giving my body the rest it’s been asking for.

Running When You're Not Training for Anything

Running is more intuitive.

Running and exercise in general can totally be an intuitive endeavor. Like I talked about in how to manage Intuitive Eating and Exercise, I’ve learned to tune in to my body needs and how I feel when I’m not robotically following a training plan.

It has made a world of difference and has been a monumental learning experience for me. 

I’ve written about What time away from Running Taught Me, because it always seems like I come back from breaks feeling refreshed and ready to tackle a new goal. It also seems that it was about this time last year I took a little running break too.


You may also like: 

Do you prefer to be training for something or not?
What do you enjoy about running without training for anything?

45 responses to “Running When You’re Not Training for Anything

  1. Beautiful pics from your vacation. Your dog is so cute & those tots! Looks delicious.
    Love your reasons for running when you are not training. It’s nice to be able to enjoy running just because you enjoy running. And sleeping in…what a bonus! Have a good week!

  2. I’m in that same space right now. I’m enjoying sleeping in on the weekends so much. It’s hotter if I do go run, but since I’m not training — I can just run leisurely. Back in the day…we used to snowski at Boone all the time (conditions permitting)! It is so pretty in that area.

  3. Fantastic post! I’m always looking to strike balance with my workouts. I love trying to incorporate different types of activities, even when I’m not training for something.

  4. After my first (and only lol) marathon I was ready for just what you said, a break and then a period where I did whatever and had more time. Running and related stuff takes 3 hours out of my day! I stayed up later, I did more things and didn’t worry as much about sleep. It is always necessary for me physically, but also mentally it was like a vacation. I embrace the morning walk 😛

  5. Sometimes you really need a break and to run without a plan. It’s always good for a reset. Right now I’ve been doing that for so long (years) that I’m really ready to get back to some hard training this fall! But I do love when it’s more relaxed and I don’t have to worry as much about miles and I can spin or paddleboard whenever I feel like it.

    1. I think the break has made me look forward to my next training, for sure. This period of relaxation without any pressure or regimen has sure been nice.

  6. As I’ve been slowly getting more and more into running, I completely agree with this! It’s nice to base the runs off how I’m feeling that day (especially while watching Jamie have to stick with a training schedule for his runs!).

    However, I think those Block Island hills in September are going to require some serious training for this girl…

    1. I definitely think training plans and cycle have a purpose and their time, but otherwise, it’s nice to just enjoy running for what it is. Block Island may require some hill training 🙂

  7. This is my life right now! Even though it’s still weird for me not to be on a schedule right now, I love having so much more TIME to do things that don’t revolve around running! I’ve also been taking more barre and yoga classes, which really makes me happy!

    Your vacation looks awesome…and hello, tator tots! 🙂

  8. i am not training for anything right now either. I just got back into running so I’m focusing on being consistent and getting stronger. It does have its benefits.
    That cheesy plate looks amazing.

  9. Ooooh thank you for talking about this!! I’ve been out of training for a year now and it’s been wonderful. People seem so confused when I tell them that I’m still running, just not training (like that somehow cannot exist??). But I’m learning that it’s okay to run just for the sake of health and enjoyment!

  10. You brought up some great points there about not running. It takes some time to get used to it because you already have a routine and then not running messes that up. I remember when I wasn’t running I wouldn’t know what to do because I was used to my Saturday/Sunday morning long run and my runs after work.

    1. I felt like that for the beginning, too! But then I realized I had all these things I wanted to do on my to do list (house/blog stuff, try new brunches, etc) and the extra time was a life saver.

  11. Isn’t it relaxing those first couple of weeks after the big race and you can relax between training cycles. Even though I’m a morning person, I have to admit that it’s nice not having to get up so early. 🙂

  12. I’m not a runner that trains for anything, I just do causal runs but I can imagine that when you’re not training you feel a bit more relaxed and less stressed. While it’s fun training and working towards a goal I think everyone needs some time off. Enjoy it until you get the craving to train again 🙂

  13. Great post! Training toward a goal is fantastic, but it can start to take the joy away from it. I felt the same about training for figure competitions. I’d run to the locker room and just start crying from pure exhaustion and frustration…then wouldn’t want to even look at a gym for a solid week afterward. It’s nice to just do things to do things rather than because you “have” to for a race or competition.

  14. It’s been so difficult for me to get back into structured training, and I love your encouragement here. Right now I’m trying to structure some long runs in every weekend to train for a half marathon.

  15. I understand what you mean- it is nice to not have specific workouts each week to do. I just typically don’t find myself super motivated when I don’t have a race on the schedule. Last summer I hardly ran at all in July or August. This summer I’m doing a fall marathon so I have to keep my mileage up. I have a love/hate relationship with training right now.

    1. I’ve been there before. I think in the beginning, it’s easier to enjoy the rest but then I felt more and more anxious/ready to train for something. I tried to think less about lack of motivation and more about trying something new. If I wasn’t motivated to exercise, even a walk with my dog was nice.

  16. I’m taking a break from training this summer too. I got burnt out after my halfs in the spring and having moved to Nashville, the heat & humidity make me not want to run! It’s been good doing a variety of workouts and shaking things up but I also feel I don’t train as hard or consistently when I don’t have a goal or race I’m working towards.

    1. After just leaving Nashville, I feel you — oh my gosh, SO HOT! It was unbearable the few days I was there. Summer would be a good time to try new workouts inside haha

  17. I’ve recently gone through a totally demotivated rut with running and have found that not tracking pace or measuring distance (aside from roughly knowing the mileage of a regular route) has helped me come out the other side. It’s made me totally intuitive once I get out the door, just me and a podcast and running by feel.

    The mornings must be so nice for you! 🙂

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