What’s Next?-Slow Down Partner!

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?”

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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.

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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?

4 thoughts on “What’s Next?-Slow Down Partner!

  1. So apparently this is the ‘running coach topic of the day’ 😀 haha – third place I have seen it this morning!

    But it IS a great topic – both for new racers and old fogies … we ALL get that post-race euphoria where we are looking for a place to channel that passion. Or, we experience post-race letdown and feel like we’ll never be a happy runner again. Or perhaps we wrestle with letting ourselves rest after our first marathon, afraid that we will lose fitness, get fat, and be unable to re-motivate ourselves!

    Can you guess what I felt after my first marathon?!?! 😀

    I tried so hard to be good – took two days off, then ran a few miles on that Wednesday, a few more the next and was up to full volume by the weekend. Yeah, while I tried to ‘reverse taper’ I know I came back to quickly.

    Since then I might take a day off, but I am pretty lousy at the whole recovery thing – I just go by feel. Which is, of course, stupid. But that is pretty much me and running. I figure – I feel good and love running, why not.

  2. With experience, I truly believe going by feel is best. There is no perfect formula and you need to learn what works for you. I usually take 2-3 days off and ease back in myself. Your feelings after your first marathon were spot on with mine….especially because I had a wedding and a shorter race the next month! My recommendations are always to be used loosely based on whatever your needs are. I always notice that you run in a very smart manner.

  3. I’m trying to convince my friend who PRd at Chicago to not think about races for a while and REST. She’s riding that high pretty good, lol!!

    I have nothing on my radar until a full month after NYC. I’m also signed up for Phoenix Marathon at the end of February–which would mean getting to training as soon as I’m recovered from NYC. But I haven’t yet decided if I’m going to stick with the full distance or go down to the half (which I’ll be totally okay with doing).

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