Parenting

Setting personal goals after a big race

Jennifer offers tips and advice on how to get past the post-race blues.

A family fun run is a nice break from the demands of race training.

After I’d taken off my shoes and looked at my mangled feet after last week’s Epic 6-Hour Trail Race, I decided I was done with ultra-distance running. I was sore, tired, hungry, missed my kids and husband terribly and couldn’t imagine wanting to EVER do something like that again.
 
(Sound a little like labour and birth?)
 
The running training that went into preparing for my long distance timed run was astronomical, and I admittedly cut many of those runs out or shortened them because I was overwhelmed. While I loved the event itself, it was the months beforehand that burned me out and even led to trying to finding new ways to manage my depression
 
Last week, many of you celebrated huge running victories too (quite a few first-time marathoners, 50 mile firsts and personal bests according to the ladies on the #momsrunning stream on Twitter. The hardest thing I’m finding right now is an event that is challenging enough to keep me motivated but requires a sane level of training (which rules out another 50K race — right now).
 
Are you also having a hard time trying to decide where to race next? Here are a few tips that have worked for me.
 
Take a break …
Try not to hit the Register Now button as soon as you cross the finish line. It’s easy to get wrapped up in your success, but remember your body needs to rest and your family likely misses you.
 
…but not too long of a break
Don’t use your finisher’s medal as a one-way ticket to Lazytown. All of the good habits you started while training and fitness can be lost by taking too much time off.
 
Choose your next event carefully
Many first-time marathoners who race in the spring want to race again in the fall to set a new personal record. Building on your current fitness makes sense — but consider that you’ll be training in summer heat AND while your children are off on summer vacation. These are both reasons I’m sticking to mid-distance running races for the rest of 2012.
 
Race a wacky event
Obstacle races are increasing in popularity. Chances are, since you rocked your last race, you’re fit enough to tackle a Spartan, Warrior or Muddy Buddy. (I’m too chicken to register for one — so let me know how it goes).
 
Try a trail
Most trail races offer an abundance of shade — a great way to beat summer heat.

Make it a family affair
Look for a fun run that allows children and running strollers. There are many charity runs and ice cream runs that are running stroller friendly.

 
Turn your race into a vacation
Planning a road trip this summer? Check the local race calendar and register for a race at your destination — guaranteed to get you a course PR!
 
My next race is a little of all of these — registration for the Creemore Vertical Challenge 25K was a Christmas gift from my husband. It’s a trail that we’re turning into a vacation and with the huge number of hills, I think I’ll be counting it among the wackiest events I’ve ever completed. Held July 7th, it gives me a break from high volume running but the challenge of training on hills.
 
What is your next goal?

Photo by Rwentechaney via Flickr