What next? I had barely crossed the finish line of my final race in Edinburgh and already those two words were creeping into conversations. Everywhere I turned people were congratulating me then immediately asking, “what’s next?”. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised as I always have something in the pipeline, but on this occasion my answer may surprise you: nothing.
That’s right. Nothing.
In the first 5 months of 2015 I ran a marathon, cycled an epic 81 mile sportive (with a 46 mile warm-up the week before) and took on a crazy 2 day challenge in Edinburgh. The only thing coming up next is a rest!
It’s usually a good idea to set a new challenge in order to have a goal to work towards after a big event, but of equal importance is to ensure proper recovery. I’ve learned the hard way that getting back to training too quickly after an endurance event can be a shortcut to the injury bench, so this year I’m making sure I schedule appropriate recovery time after each one. I didn’t run for a week after Edinburgh, and since then I’ve kept the distances relatively short.
As well as that, I’ve continued to cross train (mainly swimming but I’ll be getting back on the bike again too) and begun some focused drills and strength work to improve my form and help me run more efficiently. I was running well before my injury earlier this year, so now I’m enjoying the time without the pressure of a race to train for to try and get some of that pace back. My new goal is about strength, consistency and becoming a better runner. I don’t need to enter a race to achieve those, in fact my future racing will benefit.
But that’s not to say I don’t have some races in mind, it’s just that other than the traditional 5k races whilst on holiday in Florida, I have no races entered. None. Nada. Not a one. Last year I felt that I wasted several race entries by signing up at the early bird rate then not being able to take part due to an injury. This year, I’d rather pay a little more for a late entry than lose my entry fee altogether.
And so I’m taking the time to enjoy myself. Training is ticking over and can be taken up a gear any time, but it’s nice to be able to enjoy a meal out or other event without the prospect of a hard training session or long run the next day hanging over me. It’s nice to have the flexibility to change or even, shock horror, miss a session without feeling guilty. It’s nice, in short, to be having a rest from endurance events for a few weeks. Right now, the most important thing in my future is my summer holiday. Like I said, I need a rest and I’m going to have one!
What’s next for you?