Updated: Feb 23, 2021
Congratulations on completing your Malibu VRTL Half Marathon or 5K. You committed to setting a goal and achieving it. Now that race day is over, you may be thinking: "So what's Next?"
Training is cumulative, even though runners tend to think of training in isolated blocks that end at the finish line of their goal race, building up mileage and the experiences gained over weeks and months all build upon each other.
Now you have an idea of what to expect during training and racing, a better understanding of your body reacts to the demands of running, and a confidence that will carry from one goal to the next. Whether your next goal will be the Malibu Half Marathon & 5K again in 2021 or another race or distance, here are five steps to take to get ready for your next training period.
1. Congratulate Yourself & Recover
Congratulations, you set yourself a running goal and made it to the finish line. That’s huge. You committed to the training, put in the work and overcome any obstacles in your path.
Next time you’re faced with a hard run, low motivation or a setback, you’ll have all these successes to draw on to get you through to your next running goal. Follow these simple recovery steps to ensure you are healthy and recovered for your next start line.
Get adequate sleep. During deep sleep, human growth hormone (HGH) is released, which helps repair muscles after a hard workout or race effort. Inversely, sleeping fewer than 6 hours regularly can lead to increased cortisol levels, which breaks down tissues and impacts the body’s ability to secrete HGH.
Dial in your nutrition and make sure that you’re sufficiently fueling with the right balance of lean protein, good fats, slow release carbs and greens during the week and after your big effort.
Make time for Active Recovery and be sure to incorporate active mobility, foam rolling and stretching post run and on your “off days”.
2. Reflect on What You’ve Learned
Lessons learned while completing a training cycle can be both mental and physical. As your body adapted to gradually take on a higher volume of miles and effort you probably learned some valuable lessons too like what type of fuel you prefer, the importance of a recovery routine, understanding and managing your training load and things you will do the same and differently in your next training cycle.
3. Check in With The 6 Essential Skills for Runners
Remember those essential skills: toe yoga, lateral step down, side plank with hip abduction, single leg heel raise, single leg glute bridge and knee to wall? Now is a good time to check in with these movements to keep you on the path of reduced risk of injury through runners' specific strength, stability and mobility.
4. Add (Heavy) Strength to Your Routine
Take this reset between this achievement and your next goal to become a stronger runner and add strength training back into your routine. Heavy strength training, especially during this down time will help strengthen the body's bones, tendons, muscles and ligaments in a way that's extremely beneficial for endurance runners.
This strengthening will help protect against the high volume of repeated force that running puts your body through. You may find that easing off heavy weights is necessary later in your training cycle, so now is the time to add it back in!
5. Set Your Next SMART Goal
From the moment you start your recovery routine after a big race, you are already setting yourself up for success towards your next goal.
Take some time to reflect on your personal “why” to ensure this goal is meaningful to you and then think about following a goal setting process like S.M.A.R.T (specific, measureable, attainable, relevant and time-bound) to write down and plan for your next race.
Remember, training and experience is cumulative. Best of luck!