Way back when in the time between my XC season of 1981 and track I made the decision to not take any days off after the State JC XC Champs and instead committed to making track solid. I actually told myself that if I didn’t run well in track I’d transfer to Chico State (Harvard of the West and all), retire and party.  I started the day after the State meet with a 90 min run.  I wasn’t feeling mentally tired so it wasn’t that hard.  Well turns out my plan of running 60 minutes a day and 90 min on Sundays for the 12 weeks worked. I lead the State in the 1500, 5000 and 10,000 and was undefeated until April.  It proved to me that just plain old running consistently instead of taking time off made me better the following season.  No different than that phrase you tell HS kids “What are the 3 most important things for having success in XC?  “June, July and August”.  A good base works in the fall and it works in the spring.

Now if you’re hurt or really fried then yes, take 4-14 days off now.  But if you’re feeling solid, no aches and pains, no real reason to take time off in my experience.  To that end here’s a suggested outline for those looking to hit indoors:

12/10-12/16: Recovery week
Easy Miles.  Double days optional, cut all other runs by 15-20%

12/17-12/30:  Get back on the volume.  Shouldn’t be a stretch to be get back on 80-90% of your average fall volume here.
Monday:  Strides
Mid week:  3-5 x 3 x 300m Hill Reps.  First with exaggerated knee lift and great form.  Second at XC Race effort with great form.  Third at 3k effort again with great form.  All have a jog back recovery.
Weekend:  6 miles with 3 at 80% (60 sec/mile slower than your current 5k fitness), 3 at MP (15-20 sec/mile faster than 80%)
Long Run (LR):  90-120 min
Mid Week Long Run (MWLR):  75-90 min easy
Christmas Day is an optional run

For those looking to be ready later this Spring:
12/10-12/16: Recovery week
Easy Miles.  Double days optional, cut all other runs by 15-20%

12/17-12/30:  Get back on the volume.  Shouldn’t be a stretch to be get back on 80-90% of your average fall volume here.
Monday:  Optional strides
Long Run (LR):  90-120 min
Mid Week Long Run (MWLR):  75-90 min easy
Christmas Day is an optional run

We start back up in earnest the week of New Years 12/31 - 1/6/18.

For those looking at early spring 1/2m and marathon fitness, speak to me individually otherwise we’ll be shooting for April, May 800-10,000m fitness.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone.

Joe