Despite all of the running that I do I generally take it pretty easy during the winter months. During the end of November, December and January. This year especially after all the racing and miles I am definitely taking it pretty easy these past few months. Personally I really like not running much for a few months and focusing on strength training and cross training, generally basketball.
This year having some nagging injuries after the Superior 50 miler and the Twin Cities marathon it is nice just focusing on getting back to 100% and building a good base for next year. Last year I put on about 2-4 pounds of what I hope was mostly muscle of the fall and winter months which I think really helps me in being able to stay injury free and do so many races.
The one thing that I have learned this year is that everyone is different and what will work for me might not yield the same results for others. The really good runners, or athletes in generally I believe are great at really being able to listen to their bodies and know when to push themselves and when to take it easy. That being said here is some general advice about the importance of down time and recovery.