“What’s next?” That’s the question I’ve been getting asked a lot this past week. Now that I’ve run a marathon, what’s next?
To be perfectly honest, I’ve been in a bit of a funk since the race ended. There’s something about working hard and looking forward to an event for so long that just leaves me feeling a bit deflated once it’s over. Am I alone in that? I mean, you pour yourself into training, sacrificing other events for training runs, and then…just like that, it’s over.
It’s got me thinking a lot about a question a friend asked me recently. “What do you do when you get down?” he asked. I didn’t know what to say. But I’ve been thinking a lot about it this week, feeling all down and stuff, you know.
What I’ve realized is that since I’ve made exercise a regular part of my life, I don’t feel down very often. (Check out this article from the Mayo Clinic about exercise and mood.) But the tough thing about running a marathon is that it takes a while to recover. Some people suggest resting one day for every mile you run. Me, rest for 26 days?! Yeah, right! But I also know too much exercise right now is an invitation for injury, so I’m trying to do some active recovery by scaling back the amount of activity that I normally do. That may be contributing to my funk.
What I’ve also realized is that I need a goal to work towards–a vacation to plan, a mission trip to prepare for, a home improvement project to complete, an event to host at my house, a race to train for. When there’s something in the future that I’m reaching for, that’s what energizes and motivates me.
So what’s next? I’ve been trying to set some athletic goals to give myself something to work towards.
- The most immediate goal is a 5K PR. Coming up on Friday, May 7 is the Cinco de Mayo 5K. This was the first race I ever ran 2 years ago and the event that really flipped the switch for me on becoming a runner. I haven’t run a 5K race in a while, and I’m looking forward to running this race again to see how much speed I’ve picked up. My fastest 5K to date has been 27 minutes, so my goal is to run this race in under 27 minutes. This is me 2 years ago, elated at having run a 5K!
2. The next goal is consistency in CrossFit. I backed off of CrossFit a good bit towards the end of marathon training just because of time constraints and trying to prevent injury. But I’m excited to get back to it. Two skills that I hope to accomplish by my birthday at the end of July is the strict pull-up and double unders.
3. Try something new. I’ve just been riding my bike more or less for recreation in my neighborhood, but I’d like to learn more about the sport of cycling. I have a goal to find a cycling group to ride with this summer. Who knows? Maybe I’ll tackle a duathlon at some point.
4. Run another marathon. Yep, as hard as that race was, I almost immediately began to think about what marathon I would run next. I haven’t quite decided, but I’m looking at these summer months, the “off season” of running races, as an opportunity to really focus on cross-training and getting as strong as possible for the next marathon.
I’ll keep you posted on how well I’m meeting these goals!
What do you do when you get down?
What goals are you working towards at the moment?