Do you feel like you get stuck in neutral between races? These tips will help you stay motivated and get back on track with your training.
You’ve crossed the race finish line. What’s next?
Maybe you just completed your first 5K or checked another marathon off your race wish list. Immediately after, you’ll want to catch your breath, hydrate, eat something awesome, and rest those tired feet. But once you’ve properly recovered from your race, it’s OK to start thinking about what’s next. Remember, no matter how soon your next running adventure is, it’s important to have a plan.
Racing again soon? Just keep training — sort of.
If you have a short turnaround time before your next event, a break from training probably won’t help you with your race goals. Keep your momentum going by sticking with a training plan that’s similar to what you did for your most recent race. Add elements that continue to challenge you, but don’t forget that overtraining is a thing. If you feel overly fatigued, are experiencing strange aches and stiffness beyond your typical body pains after exercise, or can’t complete your workouts, you might be overtraining. Rest and recovery are keys to good performance — don’t ignore them.
No race on the horizon? Here’s how to keep your running on track.
Training plans for 5K and 10K races are typically between eight and ten weeks long. For marathons, you’re usually going to train between 12 to 20 weeks. If your next race is further away than the time frame of those training plans, how do you stay motivated in the time between?
Take a break.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right? It may sound counterintuitive, but taking a break from running every now and again is essential. Whether it’s a day off or a week-long vacation, we need time for recovery and self-care. Time away offers an opportunity to reflect on your running goals and can help you appreciate the sport more.
Keep running — but shake up your routine.
Yes, we did just argue for taking time off. But sometimes a long break can make it hard to start running again, especially if you haven’t stayed active in other ways. So take your rest, then start running again with the goal of making it fun. Explore new routes, invite a friend, head for the trails, or *gasp* leave your watch at home and just run by feel. Running purely for fun will keep your body primed to train while giving your mind a break.
Still not ready to run?
Too much of a good thing can get a bit boring. If that’s the case for you, consider throwing some cross-training into your routine. Different activities like swimming, biking, or hiking add variety, and looking forward to something new is a great motivator.
Sometimes there’s nothing more motivating than a reward. Find a proverbial carrot that you can dangle in front of yourself as you make your way through a hard workout or work towards an important milestone in your training. Whether it’s ice cream, some sweet new gear, or a spa day, rewarding yourself for conquering a goal is good for your motivation and mental well-being.
More tips and tricks
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