For many of you, your goal race for the spring season is done and dusted. Whether the distance was 1 mile, the marathon, or something in between and no matter if you met, exceeded or came up a bit short of your goal, now is most definitely the time for a bit of rest and recovery.
We all need to respect the need for downtime. It’s as important to listen to your body now as it is when you are in the thick of training. At M2M we usually recommend you take a full week off from running after a marathon. You put your body through a lot of trauma out on the roads and trails. If you find you can’t sit still during this time off from running it’s okay to do some other low-impact or non-impact training. A return to full training should happen gradually over the next 2-3 weeks. Even if your goal race was shorter than the marathon you should still take a few rest days and a few weeks away from structured training.
Take some time for your mind
Too often we see athletes neglecting this aspect of recovery. It’s important that we respect the mental fatigue from a big training block and goal race. 2018 Boston Marathon Champ, Des Linden, said it best after this year’s race.
There is just no way you can stay focused and ‘on it’ day in and day out 52 weeks of the year without experiencing some mental burnout. So even if your body is feeling recovered, take some time off for your mind.
Coping with the post-marathon blues
Many athletes find the transition time between seasons very difficult. I can remember that time well – the post-marathon blues were something I often experienced during my career. You’re out of routine, eating like crap, drinking more than usual and your future goals are a bit unclear. And that is ok.
The transition period is definitely the time to indulge, spend more time with friends and family (that may have been a bit neglected when you were crushing all those miles prepping for your goal race), and do some non-running activities on your bucket list. It is also a good time to try something new in training or racing. Sign-up for that trail race you’ve always wanted to do or start that strength training routine you’ve neglected for so long. Mixing it up a little should help you to get rolling again later this spring.
So what’s next?
If you haven’t planned out your racing schedule for the fall, now is a good time to do that too. Sit down with your coach, talk about your goals and make a plan to achieve them. This has always been something that helped me kick start my training again after a little downtime. Getting those goal races set in stone can help you visualize what the training will be like over the next few months.