How many of you have said that after you finish a race that you’ve been training for over the course of several weeks or months?
I know that I have.
During the course of the conversation I had with Martin Parnell recently on the podcast, we talked about the deflating feeling that you may get when you accomplish something that you’ve been working on for a long time. In my experience, and he echoed it as well, there is a moment of relief/satisfaction at accomplishing the goal but that is almost immediately followed by a feeling of anxiety about what will come next.
I don’t know about you, but I feel like I always need a race on my calendar to be training for, or I really struggle with continuing to train as frequently/intensely as I’d prefer.
A Lesson I Learned the Hard Way
I remember running my first marathon, one in which I was far from prepared, and upon finishing I swore I’d never do that again. And since I’d never be running 26.2 miles again, it made logical sense to me to not run at all for the next 3-4 months.
Needless to say, whatever level of fitness I’d reached during my marathon training cycle was completely gone, and I was building a new base from scratch.
Please y’all, don’t make the same mistake I made!
If you’ve put in the training required to tackle a half or a full, don’t let it all slip away! When I decided to run my second marathon, I was so pissed at myself for failing to maintain any of my fitness from the previous year. And guess what happened? I was not only undertrained for the second marathon, but I also went into the race nursing and injury and had to hobble/walk for the last 12 miles of the race.
It wasn’t pretty.
Have a Plan in Place Before Your Race
When you finish your race, allow yourself to enjoy the achievement and give yourself a few days to rest your legs. But you can avoid a bout of the “Now What?” plague if you have a plan in place for what you are going to do after you finish your race.
Ideally, for me at least, I’ll have another race on the schedule within the next 6-8 weeks, so that I can make sure to get a solid 4+ weeks of training between events while still allowing for an adequate taper period.
Going from big race to big race isn’t required, and for many it may not even be ideal. Simply scheduling your workouts for the 2-4 weeks after your race can help you to keep the momentum you’ve built during your previous race training cycle.
As long as you’ve doing something, you’re fine.
Unless, of course, all that you’re doing is looking around and asking yourself “now what?”
Do You Have Any Tips to Help Other Runners from Avoid Asking the “Now What?” Question? Please Share Your Thoughts In the Comments!