Race Is Over, Now What?
Don’t let all that good training go to waste!
By Alix Shutello
It’s done. You had your big race day. You’ve run your best, now what? If you don’t have your next race planned, even if you jump for joy and say, “I’m going to do this again next year!” consider that unless you are planning on doing your long training runs and continue on your training schedule, you’ll lose all that good fitness. Here are some things you can do to keep yourself motivated and in shape from now until next year.
Find Your Next Race
Racing is not like a marriage. You do not need to be committed to it, nor do you ever need to run that race again! In fact, I tend to be a fan of the “Been There, Done That” club and I always scour the running magazines for other races. And, now that I have completed a 10-mile race I can enjoy incorporating some speed work and fitting some shorter local races into my schedule. In fact, there is a local race I probably will sign up for again as those races are a lot easier to do year after year.
Choose Your Distance
My sister, Amy, finished her first half marathon and will want to move up to a marathon, most likely this year. If she chooses to do this her training is cut out for her. She needs to continue with her training, now that she’s done a 13.1-mile run, she can go ahead and run this distance for a long and slow training run; adding miles to it as she advances week by week. If she was in shape, taking a week off is a nice mental and physical break but meanwhile, she should incorporate some shorter runs this week and next, and then get back on her training schedule, only now it should be retooled for a longer race.
You don’t have to go longer, however. I don’t have the urge to do a marathon this year. I will do some shorter races to work on my speed but will continue with 10-mile weekend runs to maintain my endurance fitness. I will try to train a running group just to mix things up but considering my schedule, I’ll just keep training the way I have been except now I will incorporate some real speed work; more so than before. While I am doing this I will look for another good 10-miler or half marathon.
So, you ran your race pregnant. Well, you probably don’t want to plan for another race right now. Personally, I ran a marathon 6 weeks pregnant in 2003 and then put racing on hold for a couple of years. Two kids later I am running stronger than ever; but I really took my time to get back into training and do things the right way. You see, so many women get pregnant and then worry they won’t bounce back. Then they train too hard and too fast and get injured. Let yourself become a mother and embrace it. The running will always be there waiting for you. Trust me I was so worried about not getting back into it. Now I am a happier runner than I was even before kids.
So you overdid it and now you are in some serious pain. Hopefully you went right home after the race and iced your injured body part. It is very important that you consider giving yourself a few weeks off from any serious training to let your body heal. So many times people just push through pain in a race and that will yield weeks of recovery. I always say it’s not worth it to push through pain in a race just so that you finish a little faster. It’s not like you were going to win the race (but if you were then I get it why you pushed yourself) so my theory is to realize you are not going to get a personal best every time you run. Sure some people do but remember why you are racing – along with personal satisfaction, you want a good experience.
I look forward to hearing about your racing adventures!