So many races ended this past weekend and others are just around the corner. More often than not, we get to the end of a training cycle and are so ready to get that race over with and get on with our lives.
Then something funny happens. We come to the finish and we find ourselves sitting at home on the couch. For a moment we are relieved. It’s over. Mission accomplished! And then suddenly we start to think, “What next?”
Sure you might have crossed the line and said, “Never again!” But by the time you get home and enjoy that post race meal and a drink or two, things don’t seem as bad as they did not so long ago. Hours or even days might pass and many of the crappier memories of race day diminish and we are left thinking about those highs.
This is when I often get e-mails. Coach, I’ve been searching online and there is a half marathon next weekend. What do you think about this Turkey Trot? Do you think I could go ahead and do another marathon next month?
I love the enthusiasm and it’s my job to encourage you to run. But the first thing you need to do after a race is rest. You need to recover. This can take days for some and weeks for others. If you had injuries during your training, it is imperative that you fully recover before considering the next conquest.
Make sure your body and mind have fully recovered. Sometimes when we finish training for a race, our heart isn’t in it anymore. That doesn’t mean you will always feel this way. Your head just needs a little break from the monotony of training. Take some time to be lazy. Try out some new activities. Go hiking and check out the fall colors. Try some swimming or biking. Join a soccer league. Being active doesn’t always have to include running.
When your body and mind are ready to run again, you will know. Just make sure you listen carefully and don’t push yourself to get back into it too soon. Remember that a little time off won’t hurt your running, but coming back too quickly can be the road to injuries and misery.
Enjoy that break and some rest and relaxation!
What is your recovery strategy after a long training session?