Congratulations on not only finishing the Blue Cross Broad Street Run, but also completing the months of necessary training required!
To do so, you've had to say no to a few social gatherings, go to bed early when you'd rather stay up late, suffer through some brutally cold, wet runs, and make smart food choices when all you really wanted was pizza (and a beer). That is an impressive feat!
But now what?
You're not going to throw away all that dedication just because you ran the race and it's checked off your bucket list, right?
Hopefully, you identify as a runner now — go ahead, admit it, you just ran 10 miles! If you're wondering how you can keep the ball rolling, here are my top three tips for maintaining momentum after the big race:
Dial back significantly in Week 1 – but don't stop running.
The Broad Street Run is one terrific race, no doubt, but don't underestimate the toll it took on your body if you raced it hard (we're talking 100% effort here). Although folks rave about the fast, downhill nature of the course, this actually causes more muscle damage and will require a week of reduced training.
Brisk walking, swimming, yoga, and other gentle forms of movement are ideal in the first day or two after the race because they promote blood flow without causing more muscle damage. By Wednesday, you should be ready for a light run. Try an easy 2-3 miles and run a little slower than normal.
On Thursday, May 11th, you've got one mission: attend the Citywide Shakeout Run hosted by RUN215, ODDyssey Half Marathon, and Philadelphia Runner. Over 15 clubs will be participating by leading group runs beginning all around the city with a shared finish at the Flying Fish Crafthouse on 31st and Master in Brewerytown. We're talking full-on block party complete with live music! (If you don't already run with a group, meet other runners at City Hall at 6:30 p.m.)
By the weekend, you'll be used to logging a long run, but instead just do half of a typical long run for you (say 4-5 miles). Plan on resuming your normal training rhythm in week two. For new runners, this might mean 3-5 mile runs 3 or more times a week.
Set another goal that scares you.
In terms of maintaining momentum, this one works very well. Think about what you enjoy about running. Do you like running fast? Do you like running far? Do you like the social aspect of running? Or maybe you prefer trails to road or track? Whichever aspect excites you most, dig into that.
For example, if you like running fast, take 6-8 weeks and train specifically to run your fastest mile or 5K. I can promise you, this isn't easy, but neither was training for 10 miles! You've already built your base, so let's maintain the mileage that you're used to doing, but add some interval training to prepare your body for the intensity of the shorter races.
Bonus: the higher intensity training can work wonders for your beach bod!
Dare I suggest a marathon this fall? You've built up so much endurance at this point, are you ready to level up again?
Expand your running social circle.
Everyone runs for different reasons, but I think we can all agree that one of the best aspects of this sport is that we can be ultra-competitive and totally social, often at the same time.
Philly is exploding with running clubs and groups that cater to seemingly every speed, time slot, and demographic. RUN215.com has a comprehensive list of local running clubs and they're meeting times.
As a member of Philly Surge Running, I love attending races with my teammates because the built-in support network is a huge boost to morale and performance. But the best part is that you'll make friends who really understand what it's like to be a runner and who'll provide accountability when you don't want to get out of bed or are convinced you're "too tired" to train at the end of a long work day.
So, what's the big takeaway: If you're worried that your motivation might drop off after the big race, consider setting a BIG goal and try teaming up with at least one other running buddy or group. But first, recover smart and celebrate your accomplishment!