Hey, Runners: Now That Broad Street’s Over, Here’s What to Do Next
Congrats to everyone who ran Sunday! What a great day for a race. But now that Broad Street is over, you’re probably wondering, Where do I go from here? You’ve spent months of emotional and physical energy getting ready for the big day and, now that it’s over, you might be feeling drained and wondering what to do next.
This can make the drive and motivation you had leading up to Broad Street hard to find. But trust me, all you need to find that fire again is another goal: something new and a plan of action for how to get there. Follow the steps below and you’ll be well on your way to feeling excited about running again.
1. Take a break.
Take a few days completely off from running. Big races like Broad Street take a lot out of you, both emotionally and physically. I always recommend taking at least three to five days off after every goal race. These days off allow your body to heal, but more importantly they give you a good dose of mental rest. Just like the your muscles, your mind only has so much strength, and if you’re planning on running a big fall race, you’ll be needing all the mental strength you can muster soon enough. If you dive right back in to heavy training, you’ll risk losing motivation when you need it the most.
2. Set another goal — or two.
I believe the key to staying motivated and focused is to always have a race you’re committed to doing. A simple way to set race goals is by breaking your training into seasons: a spring, summer and fall seasons with short breaks of no running in between each. Now that you’re done with the spring season, it’s time to start thinking about your summer and fall plans.
3. Figure out exactly when you need to train (and rest) to meet those goals.
When it comes to planning your training, I recommend starting with your fall plans and working backward, especially if your goal is to run a fall marathon or half marathon like the Philadelphia Marathon or half marathon, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon, the Steamtown Marathon, and so on.
To do this, you’ll want to count the weeks backward from your goal fall race to determine when marathon training should start. Most marathon training plans don’t exceed 18 weeks (and 12 weeks for a half) simply because the body and mind just can’t handle marathon-training loads for extended periods of time before breaking down or getting injured. So, if you’re running a fall marathon half marathon, you don’t want to start marathon training too early. For example, if you’re targeting the Philadelphia Marathon on November 22nd, you won’t need to start marathon training till mid to late July.
Now that you know that, you’re going to want to look to include a few races leading up to the marathon. Ideally, you’d do a half marathon seven weeks out to test your fitness level and gauge how training has been going. And like the short break from running I encourage you to take now, you’ll also want to take a short hiatus from running before starting your fall training season. I’d recommend five to seven days in early July. This break will allow any pesky aches and pains or oncoming injuries to subside before getting into hard training.
So, now that we’ve got July through November covered, it’s time to plan out the dog days of summer in May and July. The summer in Philly is a tough time to get in serious training because of the heat. I recommend taking the summer months to have fun with your running, while maintaining your fitness level from Broad Street with at least four days of running each week.
Don’t plan on setting many personal bests; instead focus on working on your speed and strength. Look to include track sessions, weight training and plenty of cross training. Focus on shorter races like five-milers, 5Ks and one-mile races. This will greatly help your fall marathon training. There are a ton of great evening races with great crowds in towns such around Philly, like the Media 5-Miler, the Tex Mex 5K, the Saucony Mile, and more. Pick a few, have a blast, and relish the fact that all that hard work you put in leading up to Broad Street isn’t going to waste.
And there you have it: What to do now that Broad Street is over. And remember, right now, you’re resting!
Cory Smith, a Philadelphia based running coach, shares his expert advice as an American Cancer Society DetermiNation running coach; founder of Run Your Personal Best, a private running-coaching business; and head cross country coach at Penn State Brandywine. He is a USA Track and Field-certified coach and a 4:03 miler. As a student athlete at Villanova, Cory was an NCAA Division One Regional and National Championship qualifier. Contact Cory at email@example.com. Read all of Cory’s posts for Be Well Philly here.
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