Post-Race Thoughts

After a big race, there is a lot that goes through my brain.

Usually first is, when can I eat?

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This comment from Emily is 100% accurate. When I thought that something was going to stand in between me and eating post race, I nearly freaked the hell out. (And I’m generally a pretty low-key person. Until you get in between me and my food.)

The Next Race / ALL THE RACES

After I get some food in me, I start to turn my thoughts to The Next Race.

As we sat at Churchkey and Emily and Laura tried to talk me into the Vermont City Marathon, I pulled out my phone and pulled up the McMillan Running Calculator. I felt much more confident about sub-4:00 (you know, whenever I do actually decide on my next marathon) after hitting 1:50, but I was curious to see what the calculator would say.

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WELL, OKAY!

The marathon at an 8:52 pace sounds really scary. 26.2 miles under a 9-minute pace? I don’t know about that… but the 49:29 10K and 1:22 10-miler sound more doable.

And all of a sudden, I want to race a 10K and a 10-miler soon. And/or top off my half training with some marathon training.

I most definitely want to find another half soon. My next half is Brooklyn in May and then Zooma June 1, but I need this sooner.

How did I do it?

I’d say my training was about 80% where I wanted it to be. I have a much harder time devoting myself to half training than to full training, because I know that I will die if I am undertrained for 26.2; 13.1 I know I can generally pull off. There’s been some stuff going on that I haven’t blogged about, but honestly, I had a hard time completely devoting myself to my training.

But the training I got in? My speedwork was damn spot-on, and I channeled that uncomfortable feeling during the last mile or so of the race. I finally got really into yoga (for me.) I’ve been going to Uplift for strength. I think all of that really helped.

But could I have done better?

Yes, sure. I ran my heart out, and I am truly happy with my time (hi, 5 minute PR), but I also know that I was so damn close to sub-1:50 and there must have been a few spots where I could have dug deeper and gone sub-1:50.

But do I want to keep training?

I’m always so split about this after a big race. Part of me really wants to just do whatever workouts I want to, but another part of me wants to have a training plan to keep me on track. I also have a tri coming up in June, so I’ll need to turn my training to that soon.

Am I alone? Do you have a million thoughts like this after a big goal race? Do you usually want to keep training hard or are you excited to back down and focus on other exercise?

18 comments on “Post-Race Thoughts

  1. Logan @ Mountains and Miles

    Yes!!! I feel like after every race my thoughts are “Whew, glad that’s over”…”I’m hungry. where’s the food”…and then “What’s next??”

    R&R DC was my first race with an actual time goal in mind, so now I keep thinking about how far I can push myself now that I know what I am actually capable of. Running is such an addicting drug.

    Reply
  2. Jessica R

    Normally I am ready to keep going with training after a race. I am looking forward to this first marathon so I can hopefully drop back just a little and add in a lot more strength work. I really need to tone this bod but can’t seem to devote the time when I’m running this much. Of course, if I miss my goal I’ll probably have to keep going because I have a goal to reach. My brain basically never stops with the obsessions.

    Reply
  3. Ashley @ Running Bun

    I almost always want to train again right after a race. After the dust settles a bit I come back to my senses and run without a plan for a while and I usually am happy about that decision! Then other times I jump into another goal race training plan 🙂

    Reply
  4. Valerie

    I made the mistake of taking a “break” from running (2 months and counting) and now I’m scared to be starting all over again. I need to find a half, or at least a 10k, to register for to get my mojo back.

    Re: the food thing, after my (first?) half, they only had Domino’s pizza at the finish. I ate a piece out of desperation and decided that finish-line food choices would be a deciding factor in which races to enter from now on.

    Reply
  5. Jen @ Such a Funny Fat

    I’m basing this on the one half marathon that I’ve completed (but the couple dozen other races) so take this with a grain of salt. I like having a week or two off to do whatever work outs I want. If I feel tired a shorter run is good but if I’m feeling good and my legs are loose then why not hit 5-6 miles? The more important part is to run happy. I don’t want to immediately go back into a training plan without having at least a little bit of downtime for fear of burning out. However, I know that if I’m without a training plan for too long then I feel a little lost. I’ve lost 211 pounds over the last ~2 years so it’s important to keep active, even during the down time… sometimes that’s when I find time to catch up on the things I’ve missed (like those 20+ mile bike rides) while I was focused on the long weekend runs or recovering from the long weekend runs!

    Congratulations, again, on your PR! You are such an inspiration.

    Reply
  6. fiona

    I have been super click happy about races since Saturday. I’m running Vermont, but I’ve also been deliberating about Zooma, about trying to find a 10k, looking for another half marathong, and debating about 4 other marathons. Obviously, I need to calm the hell down, but I just want to race, dammit!

    Reply
  7. Jen @ Jens Best Life

    I usually need some down time but then get fired up again and want to set a new PR or try a new distance. It’s funny because I’m not super competitive (I don’t think?) but races stoke a fire in me. I actually just wrote today about how I’m revamping my training post-NYC Half!

    Reply
  8. Veronika

    I get very race happy after a big goal race also. I ran the NYC Half this weekend and missed sub-2 by a 8 seconds – it’s killing me! I have the Cherry Blossom 10 miler in 2.5 weeks and the More/Fitness women’s half in 3 weeks, though, so I have other opportunities to race. Did you definitely decide against the Vermont marathon? Sounds tempting!

    Reply
  9. Kashi @ Cape Island Runners

    I have learned from experience that even if I am fired up right after a race, my body def needs downtime and a break from training between events. I don’t mind planning future stuff in my head, but never pull the trigger cause i know I will regret it later!
    And as far as food, I love to have a special splurge after a race, but esp after a long, hard effort I usually have zero appetite – so much so that I usually have to force calories down. Generally I get super hungry the next day, so I have started saving my splurge foods for that day so I can actually enjoy them! The only exception I had to this was when I did my 50 miler, I was hungry about 2 hours later (very unusual for me after that many miles!) and stayed famished for the next 36 hours! I have never eaten that much food without a stomachache, it was amazing!

    Reply
  10. Maureen

    I usually want to rush out and race again as soon as I cross the finish line. It takes that first post race run, which is usually a disaster, to convince me that I need to give myself a break. And eat! Post race I definitely want to eat all the food.

    Reply
  11. Melissa

    That’s exactly me. I just ran my first full on Sunday, and during training and the last few miles of the race I thought “never again.” But now that I know I can do it I’m debating finding another one at some point. Maybe Disney next year? They have some awesome challenges.

    Reply
  12. Tricia

    Congrats on your PR i’m so jealous!!!!! so happy all the blog ladies PR’d last weekend, including myself. I ran so hard and said i’m not running another half for a while, i just have to pull this off with my goal of a 2:05, which turned out to be 2hrs, 11minutes off my last. But i already signed up for healthy kidney and looking for a fall half. I want to run a sub 2hrs like you and ann! I’ve been pigging out all week i told myself yesterday it’s done and today i’m back on track!

    Reply
  13. Dori

    I’m always on such a high after a race that I come home and immediately sign up for another race. Sometimes I don’t even make it home first, like when I signed up for this year’s Richmond Marathon in the car after running the half.

    Reply
  14. Liz H

    Yes! It’s like I ride the race high for a few days, then I want to get back to the gym, with less running. I’m a gym rat and I love group fitness classes and miss them so much while I’m training! I’ve got 2 more races coming up (Illinois Half in April and Brooklyn Half in May!), so I am forced to keep up with the running until then. After that I want to take a lil break before I start training for NYCM! I’ve found that if I don’t take a break from training, I get so burnt out on running! and PS: that’s a sweet PR 🙂

    Reply
  15. Shannon

    First of all, your PR is amazing! I am like you, except that I spend most of the race thinking about what I will eat after. Then, as soon as I feel that rush of finishing, I want to sign up for twelve more races. I’m jealous that you have so many awesome options. When I lived in DC they constantly had races, but now that I’m living in the Midwest it’s like they don’t do races here. Keep it up on the yoga and strength front because that will keep you balanced!

    Reply
  16. Russell Lewis

    On the food issue there is no “one size fits all” answer. Give me food after any strenuous event and you get it straight back with interest but friends are quite happy to nibble on whatever is available.

    Listen to what your body tells you, it is not often wrong.

    On On

    Reply

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