Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Resisting the Slump
After your big event, it's critical to not stop running altogether. If you do, you're likely to pack on the pounds, and you'll have to work even harder to claw your way back into shape. A study in the February 2008 issue of Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise reported that when runners quit, they quickly gained three to four pounds, and picking up their previous routine wasn't enough to shed the weight they'd gained.
You can avoid this with some critical steps on race day, says Hinton. Walking and stretching immediately will help reduce soreness in the following weeks. Greg McMillan, a Flagstaff, Arizona-based running coach, also recommends taking a few days off, and then gradually starting to run again to maintain a base of cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength. "Aim for consistency, not monster mileage," he says. While you're keeping your running light, mix up your routine. Hook up with the running buddies you haven't seen for a while, or explore new routes.
If you decide to race in the six to eight weeks following a fall marathon or half-marathon, keep your ambitions modest, says McMillan. Don't go for a personal record, but rather sign up for races that promise rewards beyond your finishing time. Run a friend or a family member through a first 5-K. Enter a Turkey Trot that benefits a local homeless shelter. Pick a race in a tropical vacation spot. "Anything that reminds you that running is fun," says McMillan.
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Getting overly excited after a successful big race can just as easily get you in trouble. Finishing a first marathon or setting a personal record may make you want to find out how much better you can do with even more training.
"I see a lot of runners who can't get off their high and want to roll right into the next marathon," says Lisa Felder, an assistant coach for Team in Training in Oakland, California. Enthusiastic beginners, in particular, can neglect to give their muscles enough time to recover. Most people shouldn't begin earnest training until five or six weeks after a half or full marathon. "It's important to respect what running a marathon does to your body," Felder says.
After months of having your life revolve around training, it can be tough to cope with a sudden drop in mileage. Expect that backing off to recuperate can make you feel sluggish. With rest and easy running, you'll easily reclaim your race sharpness when you're ready. That balance is the secret to a perfect off-season. It lets you carry your fitness forward-and even improve your time.
Plan your racing schedule well in advance so you stay on track after your big finish. You'll know what's next, and won't worry "now what?"
article from: Runnersworld.com