Are you yet to book in for your first race? Or have you just completed your spring marathon or A race, and feeling like you're in limbo? We spend weeks and months training for a race, we follow a new routine and make sacrifices, and then in one day, it is all over. We can go from being on a high to feeling a bit bluesy that it is all over. We might even feel a bit lost now that we don't have the same structure in our day around training. Here are some tips to help you plan the next big thing. We all run better when we have something to aim for. Choosing a goal will help you have a purpose, get you out the door every day and ultimately give you something to achieve and celebrate at the end of your plan.
First of all, if you've just competed of finished a training plan, give yourself some time to let your result soak in and give your body a rest. Training is physically and mentally demanding, and we can't continually push ourselves day in day out. This is what leads to burn out or injury so giving our body a down period will help us come back stronger. We recommend taking a week off after your A race (especially if it is a marathon or a ultra) and then following our post-marathon recovery plan to ease you back in.
Enjoy the down time. Make the most of the extra time you have by seeing friends and family, taking trips, going to the cinema, or whatever you didn't have time to do whilst you were training
What did you love about training? What did you not enjoy? What were the highlights of your race? Could you have done anything differently?
We don't want to over analyse but having a quick think and jotting down some notes, will help you improve in the long term. It will also help think about your next goal.
There is no rush to find your next race or challenge. You might need a break from chasing a target and just want to run for fun. During this time, we'd encourage you to keep active by updating your plan to run a bit less and do a bit more strength work. Some down time is also a good time to work on some weaknesses in the gym that you might not prioritise during an intense training block.
To pick your goal, you should make sure it’s SMART. That means it should be:
Specific (e.g., to train for a half-marathon)
Measurable (e.g., booking yourself into a race in 12 weeks time, or planning to time yourself)
Achievable (e.g., not jumping straight from a 5k to training for an ultramarathon)
Relevant (e.g., if you’re looking to build your endurance, do not follow a 5k plan)
Time-based (e.g., set yourself the goal of achieving it in the next 8, 10, 12 or 16 weeks)
There are a number of plans that we offer because we want to support you no matter what goal you choose to do. Below we’ll share with you five of our most popular goals.
Get fit and get into running
You might be new to running, just finished Couch to 5k and not sure what to do next, or may have ran for a while without consistent structure and want to start levelling up. That means getting out of the door each week with a mix of easy runs, speed runs and long runs. These will focus on improving you as a runner and most importantly instilling the healthy habit of regularly running and challenging yourself. Try our ‘Get Fit’ plan or ‘5K Improvement’ plan to get started with your running journey today.
Recommended goals: Get fit, 5k
Build your endurance
Ever since the first Marathon, endurance running has captivated people all across the world. Every year, millions of people train for their first half-marathon or marathon to test their limits, raise money for charity or to cross it off their bucket list. Training for and running a half-marathon, marathon or ultramarathon is a great challenge and recognised as a huge achievement, but it also requires commitment and determination.
Recommended goals: Half-Marathon, Marathon, Ultramarathon
Build your speed and fitness
Do you want to test yourself and see what you’re capable of? Or start beating the other runners at your next race or Parkrun? By training for a goal such as a faster 5k or 10k, you’ll be focussing on speed runs to build your aerobic fitness and power. This will help you get fitter and faster as well as coming with a number of other proven health benefits from reduced risk of injury, to better fat burn, to stronger bones. Improving your speed over a 5k and 10k is highly recommended if a marathon is in your sights too.
Recommended goals: 5k, 10k
Train for a race
Having a race booked is a great way to motivate yourself towards a goal and hold you accountable to train. We recommend telling your family and friends what you’re training for which will help even more. If you’ve not booked one just yet, there’s many good websites you can use to look for one. You could even sign up to one of our free monthly events and train towards that. Getting a plan to help you train towards a race takes all of the stress out of the training, from what runs to do and what to eat before or during your long runs. Our plans will balance all of the different types of runs to help take you towards your goal whilst keeping your training sustainable to help reduce the injury risk.
Recommended goals: 10k, Half-Marathon, Marathon
Do a triathlon
If you want to add some variety to your training then a triathlon could be for you. We have a host of running triathlon plans from sprint distance to full iron. Running is our biggest love but by adding two other disciplines to your training, you can take on a whole new challenge and add some different sessions to your week.
Recommended goals: Sprint Tri Run, Olympic Tri Run
If you have any other goal in mind then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us and we’d be happy to help you find a plan. Nothing is too crazy for our coaches!
Whatever your next goal is, we can't wait to support you. Enjoy the time out and come back fresh and ready to smash your next block of training. As always, we're here if you have any questions at all via the Support tab.