Well, your probably thinking its been a long, hard, season. You have either raced your big Ironman or tackled several tough races. Either way, the big race is behind you now.

You’ve had time to reflect on your season, you know what next year’s goals are, but maybe you are not quite ready to get after it. Now what?
Well as an athlete and a coach, I see it from both perspectives, and I’m going to give you a few recommendations for a post season plan.
First of all, lets consider reducing volume, intensity and maybe even consider being a single sport athlete. I do believe the fall is the best time to become a runner. The leaves are changing, the weather is cooler, leaving us much more comfortable to go out and run. This cooler air temperature will also keep our core body temperature better regulated for some good performances if you chose to go that route.
Initially, I would consider stepping way down, almost remedial in how much total running your going to do. Many of my athletes, even though they just finished an Ironman, will still enjoy getting some work done by starting a simple run program with 10 minute runs, maybe 5 days a week. I would turn your watch on, but if you have a Garmin or similar, make sure you only see time. Do not worry about pace, distance or heart rate at this point, just go by feel and enjoyment. Your goal is to run and be finished with your run before any hint of fatigue has set in. Being mindful of your posture will promote good habits, regardless of a 10 minute or 3 hour run. Try to always be aware and mindful of good form.
I would recommend adding some strides or 20 second accelerations within or after your run, twice a week, just to get some good leg turnover. They shouldn’t be too hard, taxing or leave you feeling like this is a chore, or a serious workout. I would consider getting back to some fun trail runs, and social runs with friends that you may have neglected do to your earlier prescribed and focused workouts. I would also add 5 minutes to your run every week. Once your running 5 days a week for roughly 30 minutes each run, you might have a decision to make. You can keep running and enjoying the process, or maybe you will find the fire inside to test out the legs.
There are now two paths you can choose:
  1. You can remain comfortable, and just build some endurance – chosing to do a 5k or 10k.
  2. You can use all that summer strength and turn it into some pretty fast times with those nice cool temperatures outside and really go for your goals. Runners World just produced a detailed article about the sub 2 hour Marathon. From elite to amateur runners they depicted the ideal outdoor temperature for fast times to be in the 40 degree range. Regardless, the fall temps are better than those 90’s you might have raced in during the summer.

    If you want to light the competitive fire or just get comfortably strong as a runner, without the worry of biking and swimming. Keep it fun. Keep the positive attitude about your undertaking. For many this is not the primary sport for which we are training for, this is an extension of being a triathlete. Make sure these are fun-filled, no stress events and besides, you may have a fast time when the pressure is off. If it happens, great, but no pressure or expectation. Keeping your running fun will take away the expectations that come with your prescribed workouts and races.

Here are some fun ways to keep up your speed:
  • A pick up game of soccer, a game of ultimate Frisbee, or ask your local high school coach if you can join on some speed runs with the local high school kids.
  • Doing some non-traditional fun and entertaining speed work once a week on the run might be all you need. Running up to an hour or so, once a week, might also be all you need.
  • My local physical therapist, Bob Cranny, said ‚Äúits a blast doing something that your not known to do, and that is not part of your repertoire.‚Äù If your background is running and you have a host of 5k-10k and half marathons under your belt, you may consider stepping away from the normal road race scene and trying something new. Trail races will do just that. Doing a trail race, you have never done before, you‚Äôll have fun, meet knew people and you truly have no expectation because its an entirely different adventure. And it will make you a very strong runner.
  • You‚Äôll likely become a stronger athlete mentally and physically by breaking away from normal routines and annual races.
Running will keep you active with very little prep time and with very little overall volume. It kicks up the metabolism, and the endorphins without needing to spend much time training. It can be done anywhere anytime with minimal supplies needed.
Have fun, go run!
Jim Hallberg believes that every one of us has the capacity to improve our efficiency, get stronger and run, bike or swim faster. Sure, it takes time, dedication and discipline but it’s possible. Working with an experienced coach can make sure that your efforts are targeted in the right areas to make sure you reach those goals!

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