I Got Those "Post Goal Race What do I do With Myself Now" Blues

By: Brad Deel


For the last several months, my running focus has been on one thing – running sub 3:10 at the Wrightsville Beach Marathon on March 18.  My time was 3:08:31.  Mission accomplished.  The 3:09:59 was critical for me as that beats my Boston qualifying time by more than 20 minutes so I am now eligible to register for the 2013 Boston Marathon on the first day of registration.  I was ecstatic when I finished and that excitement lasted all day.  Of course, reality was rude enough to intrude.

Despite training better for this marathon than for my first marathon in November, 2010, I was at least as sore afterward if not worse.  I could barely walk on Monday.  Tuesday wasn’t much better.  By Thursday I was still sore but I tried to run.  I made it less than 100 yards before a stabbing pain in my left calf became unbearable and I walked back to the car.  Mission failed.  I finally managed a very uncomfortable four mile slog on Tuesday, March 27.  Wednesday and Thursday were slightly better so I am obviously recovering even though recovery is taking longer than I’d like.  Unfortunately, I am now in “what next” mode.

I have a half marathon in which I plan on racing all out on May 5 but the reality is that marathon recovery and the short time between now and then preclude much focused training.  I am planning to run 50 miles on my 50th birthday but that’s in October and I have never been able to focus my running that far into the future.  I’ll be running Boston next year but that’s even farther away and I plan to run that race as something of a “victory lap.”  I'm going to jog it, take lots of pictures, soak in the scene, run a personal worst, and finish with a big ol' grin on my face rather than my normal grimace.

To a large degree, I feel like a Couch to 5K graduate who wonders what to do after he actually manages to run 3.1 miles.  For me, it becomes a question of my training.  Should I focus on base building?  Should I focus on developing the speed that I neglected during marathon training?  Should I just run however the hell I feel like running for a while?  None of these are intractable problems but they do make it easier to skip a run if life interferes a bit or to excuse a low mileage week.

I’ve been through this post goal race let down before and I imagine I’ll experience it again.  The solution, of course, is to be disciplined and get out the door even when I’d rather not.   So, that is precisely what I am getting ready to do.  I’m not exactly sure how I will train over the next few months.  Heck, I’m not exactly sure how far I’m going to run today but I will go run.  I can at least do that.

See ya out there.

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