This is the time during training where many runners struggle. The New England weather continues to be a major challenge and the marathon seems so far away. It’s important to sustain your focus through the middle of the training season so you don’t panic as the marathon approaches.
I recommend you analyze what you’ve done well and what areas of your training may need improving. Achieving balance in all areas of your training (e.g., running consistency, cross-training, nutrition, hydration, sufficient rest, proper shoe selection, mental preparation, etc.) will improve your chances of success in the marathon.
One of the areas that most runners should focus on is the 30-60 minutes after each run. Runner’s typically begin thinking about the completion of their run long before it actually ends. Focusing on ‘running in the moment’ and concentrating on form and breathing is far more beneficial than being consumed by getting the run over. I would encourage you maintain your focus on each training run for at least 30-60 minutes beyond the completion of the run.
Here are the things you should be focusing on:
1. Gradually allow your heart rate to return to its normal range
2. Getting into dry and comfortable clothing
3. Rehydrating and eating as quickly as possible
4. Using the stick and foam roller
5. Completing a thorough stretching routine
6. Elevate your legs and ice any areas where pain is present
7. Evaluating what you did well during the run as well as identifying areas of improvement
8. Utilize this assessment to adjust your training methods and plan for your next run
8. I also recommend that you take a nap afterwards
What you do away from training influences your marathon preparation as much as the act of running. Don’t adopt a mindset that simply completing a run is your ultimate goal. Sufficiently preparing for each run with proper nutrition, hydration, rest and proper clothing as well as the aforementioned post-run routine will ensure you’re maximizing your training effort.
Being thorough and developing a strategic plan fosters a feeling of confidence that pays huge dividends physically and mentally. There’s no time like the present to discuss your training challenges with me so that I can get you back on track.
Staying focused on all aspects of your training is much easier than it appears. It simply requires constant attention, assessment and adjustment. And communicating with your coach is at the top of the list!