In training for your race goal, you improved your fitness, your attitude and your energy level. This doesn’t have to go away after the race. By setting new goals and other projects ahead of time, you can maintain your enhanced fitness and move on to other running experiences.
The following tips have helped my e-coach clients and Galloway Training members get back on the road again.
- Write down some new goals on your calendar. Before the date of your current goal (or immediately afterward), jot down a few “appointments” on your calendar — at least one per week. For example, schedule a social run with a friend or two each week, or go to scenic areas to run or walk that are particularly interesting to you.
- Focus on a particular goal. It doesn’t have to be a time goal or a competitive race, but a race date can keep you motivated. By signing up for an event, you will more than likely get out and do the workouts required to achieve your next goal.
- Make walking a habit. It’s important to keep walking after your run — no matter how long it was. If you just ran a marathon, you may be barely moving your feet, but your muscles are still pumping blood back to the heart. Just standing is stressful on the cardiovascular system — especially right after a long run.
- Remember to eat within 30 minutes. The first half hour after a strenuous workout is a crucial time for reloading the glycogen in your muscles. If you don’t do this, you will not have as much “bounce” in your muscles or enough energy during your next exercise session. Studies have shown that a combination of 80 percent simple carbohydrates with 20 percent protein results in a better and quicker recovery (about 200-300 calories).
- Soak in a tub of cold water. Within one to two hours after a strenuous workout, a cool soak can really do wonders. Fill the tub with cold tap water (you don’t have to put ice in the tub). Ease your legs in and soak out the excess heat (about 15 minutes).
- Walk the next day. A gentle walk of 20-50 minutes the day after a strenuous workout can help in pumping the blood through your leg muscles, pumping out the waste. The fresh blood delivers oxygen and nutrients to revive the muscles.
- Alternate walking and jogging every other day. Two days after a marathon, many runners will run for 10-30 seconds and walk for a minute on their first recovery run. Every other day, the amount of running can be gradually increased to normal levels over the next two weeks.
- Gradually rebuild. Avoid any fast running for as many days as there were miles of your race (26 days for a marathon, for example). After a strenuous half marathon, don’t do any speed training for about two weeks. Gradually ease back into any hard training that you will need for your next goal.