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We get this a lot, you did your race, and now what?

Especially if you are heading into the off season or taking a break we often are at a loss of what to do with ourselves. There isn’t anything to train for anymore. Nothing to look forward to, or perhaps you do have something…6 months from now. Nothing in the near future to keep you motivated.

We are going to discuss some tips as what to do when you are done with your big dance of the year.

Make a new goal

The easiest thing to do, and easier said than done, is to make a new goal for yourself. Perhaps your event was for distance, or for a new PR, or both! Now you need something new to reach for.

Did you just PR a brand new distance? Ask yourself if you are ready for the next distance, if that’s something you think you would enjoy training for. One of the top considerations for starting up training is asking yourself why. You don’t always need a “why”, but it can help immensely when the training picks up later on down the trail. But picking up a new distance goal doesn’t have to just be for an event.

You could also make a goal to be consistent in training, like making smaller weekly or monthly distance goals to obtain. Some people even make yearly mile goals, like 2020 in the year 2020, or 1000 miles in a year. Get creative and start planning!

Other small goals to keep you moving are working on base speed on technical terrain or techniques like hill climbing. Consider hiking or fast packing, something new! Though this might not be enough, and we get that.

Sign up for another event

Sometimes two days after our event, we end up on a site called ultrasignup (we are not sponsored 😉 )…or the day after even. You know who you are. And sometimes we get disappointed and fall short with no short term race that appeals directly to our taste. Or we find a lot of races, it becomes overwhelming. This can be problematic either way.

The best way is to dial in mentally and listen to your body. You probably just put in a huge effort over several months. Even if you are feeling good, it’s best to let the body rest a bit (I know, I know) and adapt to the training and stresses you have put on the body.

If you think you have the green light there, look for something interesting, not just the first race that appears in the search queue. Practice a little restraint. Ask yourself what purpose this serves. Coming down from a long training season is mentally difficult as well. Try smaller distances and have fun. Or volunteer! A wonderful way to give back and help out without risking a possible post season injury getting in over your head.

Your event should check off all the boxes.

  • Is it fun?
  • Are you physically capable of the distance in a possibly weakened state?
  • What are your expectations?
  • Will this help bridge the gap between seasons?
  • Would it interfere with the next season’s goals?
  • What are you gaining from the experience?
  • Will this help you mentally? (And probably one of the most important points!)

Pick up a lost or new hobby

When was the last time you picked up those knitting needles? Or the last time you played that “new” game you got for yourself last year? Have you hosted a tailgate party recently? Gone fishing? We all have different hobbies, and when we train for longer events, sometimes we drift away from them. Or maybe we could learn something new!

Whatever your lost hobby was, pick it back up again. Start a new project. Have something to pour your mind into. Make something for someone else…food, crafts, parties, the list goes on. Take your energy and focus it elsewhere. This is the easiest thing to do for our recovering bodies.

Running your only thing? Try something new. A lot of places host various one-time or a few week classes on random things, like paint night at the local Y, or a hot yoga course…or learn how to swim! It doesn’t have to be active, but you can typically find out more about these local community events through magazines catered to your area, or on facebook events. Really, check it out.

Practice strength

Sometimes we come out of events thinking we could have done better, or we just get all this pent up frustrated energy that needs directing, and doing arts and crafts won’t cut it. And on the other hand, we feel like we’ve gotten so strong from our efforts that we want to seek out more.

Strength is a great way to keep ourselves strong in the off season. Even with weight training, it takes time to see progress, just like with running and cardio. Building muscles is a great way to support our skeleton and to help protect it against the forces of running.

Don’t want to be in a gym or pay for it? No problem. There are a lot of strength building exercises you can do at home as well! Our coaches at Becoming Ultra love to emphasize strength in our training plans. In the end, your body will thank you.

Group runs

Finally, if nothing else has managed to float your boat, go on some group runs. No group runs? Make one. Use facebook events and spread the word on a date for a long run, or strength run (hill workouts are great for groups since you don’t all need to go the same pace).

Typically though, you can easily find group runs in your area. Every mile adds up. If you prefer running solo, get an accountability partner online. You don’t have to run side by side to run together. Decided to go out at the same time and then share together after you finish!

Group runs are also at a slower pace usually, so kick back and relax and have some fun out there.

Do what’s best for you

In the end, you must try and do what is best for you and your body and recovery. Give yourself time to receive the benefits of your prior efforts. But also mentally getting through the post race depression and let down is important to your recovery. Running is for the body and mind.

What do you do post race that works for you? Let us know and follow us on the social media networks facebook and instagram. Like what you read? Consider a donation on Patreon, we like keeping the articles flowing for all readers. Every bit helps us keep Becoming Ultra going.

If you haven’t heard, Season 8 applications are LIVE, and this season we are heading to Oregon. If you have been wanting to apply, get your application in. Done an ultra? We have Team BU and coaching for you too!

ALSO new gear is up! Go check it out!! GEAR GEAR GEAR

Thanks for reading everyone.

Stephanie Dannenberg

Steph has been running really far in really hot, cold, dry, and rainy places. She is the newest coach for Becoming Ultra and contributes on the podcast regularly!