My new post-race approach

If there’s one thing I’m good at when it comes to running, it’s mixing things up and taking chances. It’s funny, too, because I am not a risk taker by nature. Then again, how risky is it to chance things with running?

IGfinish 300x199 My new post race approach

Nice to take the pressure off post race

So my latest experiment was to give myself permission to do whatever amount of swimming, biking and running I felt like last week following Iron Girl. No set plans or goals, with the one exception of my long run. The timing of this was perfect because it was my kids’ final week of summer, so I was able to enjoy my time with them without the pressure of fitting in x number of miles in any of the sports.

How did it all shake out? I got in two short swims (nothing longer than about 1,800), two sessions on the bike trainer and none outside, and ran five times, all in the range of four to seven miles, with the exception of the long run. Everything was at an easy pace.

The results? I felt really good for my Saturday long run. There could have been a million reasons for this, but I definitely think allowing my body this down time gave me nice fresh legs for that run. I’m also feeling good this week (with the exception of my slow “speed” session yesterday but that’s another issue) and enjoying the training.

For me, this approach worked really well. I enjoyed the little bit of activity I did do, but never felt guilt for not doing more. It also served as a mental break, which for me is important after races. I think I’ve found my new post-race plan, which is actually more of an unplan. I’ll be doing it all again in mid-September right after my next sprint tri.

How do you approach your first post-race week? Ever switch it up? 


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  1. Usually on my post-race week I’m actually keen to train. I think it’s a combination of still being on a high from the race and having all the pressure to train taken away. I’m contrary like that.
    Char recently posted..Wrapping Them in Cotton WoolMy Profile

  2. I’ve only ever done two races since I’m very new to running! But knowing me, I’m always eager to get back at it :)
    Kierston recently posted..8 Weeks Out: There Is Balance To Be Found!My Profile

  3. Good stuff! Frequently I experience post-race fatigue so, like you, I give my body a chance to rest up and recover. That usually includes less intense workouts and maybe I’ll do something in place of running. Its good to switch it up.
    Teamarcia recently posted..Lifestyle Ambush: Not in a Good WayMy Profile

  4. Usually after big races, I take my mileage and pace really easy and just do what feels right. I still run the same number of times as usual, though.
    Kari @ Running Ricig recently posted..home renovations: not as easy as you thinkMy Profile

  5. I still train, as long as my legs allow me too, its more of a “volume week” as sometimes, the intervals or intended pace just isnt ready for my legs to handle
    BDD recently posted..Great Buckeye Challenge – A Sad Day for the Sport of Triathlon in OhioMy Profile

  6. Sounds like a good approach, and it’s nice it lined up with your kids’ last week of summer of holidays.
    I usually try to take some time off, or go with the flow. This time around I’m trying to take a full week off cardio, other than walking. I’m on day four and itching!
    Abby @ Change of Pace recently posted..Ironman Canada 2012: Pre-race activitiesMy Profile

  7. I like to switch it up too every now and then. Next weekend I’m running a half where I plan to do the same kind of thing the week after to let the body work out the kinks from the race but also rest and recover before moving on to that fall marathon.
    Britt @ Chicago Rinner Girl recently posted..Garmin SOS, againMy Profile

  8. Michele @ nycrunningmama says:

    I have learned the hard way what happens to me if I don’t listen to my body the week after a race…too often I’m on such a high that I just want to keep pushing…not a recipe for success. Taking an easy week is what I learned works for me…no set mileage or even number of days of running…glad to hear you had such a great run on Saturday!!!
    Michele @ nycrunningmama recently posted..Hospital Packing ListMy Profile

  9. I try to really listen to my body. I will rest entirely the day after then either do an easy cross-training like elliptical or boxing then 3rd day I’ll try for 2-4 miles. If it works good, if not, I stop and wait a few more days.
    Heather (Where’s the Beach) recently posted..Savoring the Moment with Fajita Tempeh BurgerMy Profile

  10. To be honest, I usually do not even think about it. I just plug on with my training schedule but I should probably give myself a little break mentally and physically. I guess the break I allow myself depends on the race. I don’t give myself much of a break from 5 or 10K’s. I learned the hard way this spring that I need more of a break after marathon.
    Tia @ Arkansas Runner Mom recently posted..Confessions from a jogging stroller drop-outMy Profile

  11. I had some lingering soreness from my recent training and this week decided to listen to my body and not my mind and took a few days off. The former Robin would have NEVER done this but I am thinking, like you, that I made the right decision because I had an amazing run yesterday. I loved reading that this approach is working for others as well.
    Robin recently posted..No Fashion Sense WhatsoeverMy Profile

  12. It depends on the state of my legs. I they’re fine I just continue training for the next race. If not, I rest and run shorter recovery runs for a few days before hitting it full steam again.

  13. I like the approach. Nice lil reward too for you efforts.
    Adrienne recently posted..Now About That Race…..My Profile

  14. I had a real roller coaster week last week. My intention was to take off after 70.3 but after 2 days I wanted to run a little. I just didn’t want to do my long run of 15 miles. As you know, I chucked it. :) Running reminds me of all my mechanical issues. They’re frustrating and mud in my giddy up but I’m thankful to be able to run.
    Coy recently posted..Life after 70.3My Profile

  15. That sounds amazing. Given that I haven’t been able to do anything distances since…uhh…April due to injury I’m thinking that once I get my duff going again I’ll take the suggestion of my doc – recovery weeks should be based on time or just be unplugged to be effective. I need to remember I won’t die because Dailymile didn’t get an accurate “donut burning” recording.
    Sheila recently posted..True Confession Thursday: Did I Say That?My Profile

  16. It’s funny because post race week, I’m usually all psyched up to run and get speed sessions in but the post POST race week, I feel like crap. Maybe a lack of recovery? Whatever, but I go with what my mind/body wants to do. If nothing is hurting, I run and take advantage of the spring in my step and desire to push myself.
    Joanne recently posted..FOFF Lobster Lovers SauceMy Profile

  17. That’s awesome! Nice to have a long run feel so good. My first week post race is pretty much me doing nothing at all. I like my rest lol. I have no problems taking a week off after a race or in the middle of a trianing cycle. I always feel that it does more benefit then harm (for me anyway).
    Robin recently posted..Nice Surprise from BostonMy Profile

  18. For me it depends on the intensity and length of the race. For short ones 5k, 10ks, etc. I like to run the next day to relieve that stiff soreness that can develop from the faster pace. The following week I continue on same schedule as before. For longer races, I take it easy. Soreness from muscle fatigue isnt something I can run off.

  19. Good for you for being in tune with your body and paying attention to what it was telling you. Important to allow your mind to let your body rest and do what’s necessary to recover.
    Debbie @ Live from La Quinta recently posted..Wednesday Workout: Answering Your QuestionsMy Profile

  20. Nicely done… “listen to the body” is rule number one. I usually take a few days off after an event. For sure one, typically 2-3. Then it’s bounce right back into it and focus on the next race. Bigger, faster, stronger, right?
    Pavement Runner recently posted..Playlist Thursday: Who Is On My Playlist The Most?My Profile

  21. You really were in good shape to be able to do all of that! The recovery for me totally depends on how thrashed I am after a race. I guess I am like a lot of people in that I might not need a big physical break after a 5-10k, but I seem to need a lot of easy recovery after a full. Wish I had a pool closer! A half marathon could go either way. The last wasn’t such a big butt kicker, but the year before I needed to run only easy for about 2 weeks afterwards. It’s easy for me to shrug some things off as just a little niggle, but if I push it- it won’t stay that way for long.
    Raina recently posted..Don’t take yourself too seriouslyMy Profile

  22. I usually stick with my usual training routine but I’ll adjust my distances so my training volume is lighter. The following week, I’ll get back to normal training volume. Unless of course it’s the week after my goal race, then I’ll put my feet up and enjoy the well deserved rest.
    Phaedra recently posted..Playlist Thursday: Most Appearances a.k.a: The Ultimate Rush PlaylistMy Profile

  23. I tend to give myself permission to do (or not do) whatever I want in the first week or so post-race. The length of some of my recent events + the inadequacy of my training for them has equaled some rough recovery. After this past weekend’s race, my 3 mile run on Monday was quickly downsized to a 2-mile walk, and even that hurt.
    Kate recently posted..Incredible Journey: The Thunder Rolls 24-hr ARMy Profile

  24. i always take 1 week off after a marathon (or ultra). 7 days, no running. it’s needed, deserved, and well earned!
    Kristy recently posted..Mandatory Rest WeekMy Profile

  25. Depending on the length of the race, I usually take a couple of days off from from running but try to swim, do yoga, Barre, or cycle. I never plan it I just go with what my body wants. I think after following a training plan for xx amount of weeks, I’m sick of it and want unplanned fun.
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted..Zucchini MuffinsMy Profile

  26. I like to do something similar… taking a week for easy runs and cross training is the best way for me to regain my running motivation again. With my August shin-issues, I’m spending more weeks with easy-paced runs than I’d like. I’m ready to start pushing harder again!
    Laura recently posted..A special interview and Summer RatatouilleMy Profile

  27. Listening to my body is the only rule I set for myself after a big race. If I’m ready to get some good miles in a day or two after, GREAT… if not, theres no shame and I’ll loosen up my angry muscles with some yoga and foam rolling.
    Charlotte recently posted..Playlist Thursday: MOST APPEARANCESMy Profile

  28. I think your “unplan” sounds like it worked perfectly! I like to try to give myself a week’s break before diving into a training plan again – my legs are always happier for it!
    Michelle @ Running with Attitude recently posted..Thursday Thoughts: Vacation EditionMy Profile

  29. Love this!!! I think this is a great way for both your body and mind to recover!!!
    Toni Church recently posted..Win, Lose, or Blog Mini-Contest!!!My Profile

  30. For triathlons I try to take a day off for every hour of racing as a rule of thumb. I’m still pretty new to endurance sports though so I’m still experimenting.

  31. I think that sounds like the perfect training plan after I complete my first half in Nov :)
    Mindy Artze recently posted..Come run the "WHM St. Pete" with Mindy!My Profile

  32. Post-race, I tend to either take a 0 week or reverse the taper on my training schedule. I think mixing it up and taking the pressure off of fitting in a certain number of miles probably is good for preventing post-race burn out.
    Raquelita recently posted..Thursday Threads: First Day of ClassMy Profile

  33. Holy crap! This was a down week???
    Laura recently posted..Ruby Wednesday: Real people foodMy Profile

  34. I usually take it easy post race for a week depending on how long the race distance was. If it is just a 5K or 10K I usually don’t do anything different. If use a 1/2 as a training run I don’t do anything different either. If I am racing a 1/2 then I might take an extra day or two for recovery. After a marathon I always take two full weeks off and do absolutely nothing.
    Tasha @ Healthy Diva recently posted..Running, running, running….My Profile

  35. I agree with you. Going to Maine and racing there was a huge mental break for me. The few days off leading up to the race, then the few days after were just huge. This past week I have had nothing longer than a couple of hours and I’m chomping at the bit to get the meaty portion of the lead up to Ironman Arizona under way now.
    Jason @ Cook Train Eat Race recently posted..It’s Not Just Pasta…..My Profile


  1. [...] out Miss Zippy’s new post race approach!  I love that she took the week after her race and decided to just give herself permission to do [...]

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