QT: Moving Forward After Finishing a Goal Race Can Be Tricky

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For many runners, fall means one thing: goal race!

After training through the heat of the summer, fall (hopefully) brings the cooler temperatures that are conducive to getting out there and throwing down!

With a big goal race on the horizon, running is pretty straightforward.

Get your miles in. Take care of yourself physically. Get your mind right. Prepare for the big day.

But what happens after you cross the finish line?

The Race is Over…

Valid question.

For some runners, the answer is pretty obvious.

There’s already another race on the calendar, if not several, so the focus turns to training for whatever is next.

But for some runners, the post-race blues can be a very real thing.

With no big race to train for, it’s easy for motivation to lag.

And once the motivation starts to drop, it’s easy to get out of the training routine you established leading up to your race.

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…Proceed Strategically

Whichever camp you find yourself in after finishing a goal race, how you move forward is pretty important.

But how you move forward is going to vary based on how you’re feeling post-race.

Good to Go:

When motivation isn’t a problem, sometimes the biggest issue after finishing a goal race is actually exercising restraint.


Instead of diving right back into your training and working toward whatever is next on your calendar, intentionally pulling back (slightly) is often a better option.

A goal race, no matter how it goes, usually takes a fair bit out of a runner, both physically and mentally.

So adequate recovery, both physically and mentally, is vital.

As for your return to training, I’d advise you to keep your running really simple for a while.

Keep the intensity low and your volume in check.

The priority here is to really reestablish a solid base, before you start ramping things up toward your next goal race.

Struggling a Bit:

When your motivation is waning, one of the worst things you can do is try to force the issue.

Focusing on recovery is usually not too much of a struggle when you’re less than motivated, because you don’t really want to go for a run anyway.

Problem solved, right?

In theory.

If you’ve ever struggled with your running motivation, you know how easy a week or two break can turn into several months of non-running.

And if you’ve ever been there, you also know how frustrating it is when your motivation returns and you find your fitness lagging.


The priority here is to maintain your fitness without making running feel like something you have to do when you don’t really wanna.

Easier said than done? Sure.

But it’s definitely possible.

Maintaining Your Fitness Until Your Motivation Returns

When your motivation to train is low, don’t train.

Say What

At least not in a way that you’re less than enthused about training.


Training can often feel like a box to be ticked. Like a means to an end.

And to a certain extent, neither of those is inaccurate.

So if you’re not motivated to get out there and tick the box with your training, change the equation.

Any number of ways.

  • Prioritize fun.
  • Be flexible.
  • Cross-train.
  • Try something new.
  • Involve others.

The options are virtually endless, but the goal is always the same: keep moving and staying active.

If you’re doing that, you’ll be in a much better place with your fitness when your motivation to run returns.

Moving forward after finishing a goal race often goes one of two ways. #runchat Share on X

How Do You Typically Feel After Finishing a Goal Race?

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