Eight tips for a smooth transition between your last goal and your next.
In training for a significant goal, you’ve improved fitness, attitude and energy level. This does not have to go away after the race. By setting other projects and goals before the race (or immediately afterward), you can maintain your enhanced fitness and move ahead to other interesting experiences. The following have helped my ecoach clients and Galloway Training members get back on the road again.
1. Write some new goals on your calendar. Hopefully before the date of your current goal (or immediately afterward) jot down a few “appointments” on your calendar—at least one per week. Have a social run with a friend or two each week. Go to some scenic areas to run or walk that are particularly interesting to you.
2. Another goal? It doesn’t have to be a time goal or a competitive race, but a race date can keep you motivated. If you sign up for a festival event, one month later, you will probably get out and do the workouts needed to enjoy that event.
3. Keep walking. Even when you finish a marathon, keep walking! Even if you’re barely moving your feet, the muscles are pumping blood back to the heart. Standing is a stressful activity on the cardiovascular system—especially right after a long run.
4. 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 tend to have as much “bounce” in the muscle, or energy during the next exercise session. Studies have shown that a ratio of 80% simple carbohydrate and 20% protein can allow for better reloading (about 200-300 calories).
5. A cool soak does wonders. Within 1-2 hours after a strenuous workout it really helps to soak the legs for 15 minutes or more. Fill the tub with water from the cold tap—you don’t have to put ice in the tub. Ease in there and soak out the excess heat.
6. Walk the next day. A gentle walk of 20-50 minutes, the day after a strenuous workout, can help in pumping the blood through the leg muscles, pumping out the waste. The fresh blood delivers oxygen and nutrients to revive the muscles.
7. 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 then next two weeks.
8. Gradually rebuild. Avoid fast running for as many days as there were miles of the race. After a strenuous half marathon, don’t do any speed training for about 2 weeks. Gradually ease back into any hard training you will need for the next goal.
Olympian Jeff Galloway has helped over 700,000 people improve their lives through his books, beach retreats, running schools and individual consultations. For more information, see his book ‘Getting Started’ or visit www.RunInjuryFree.com.