It’s taken 12 weeks of training to get me to tomorrow’s DC Rock n Roll Half-Marathon, and it was the first time that I followed a scheduled training plan — no easy thing to do. Some days I had to drag my legs with me; some days I stayed in bed for an extra hour, avoiding my long run; some days my legs hurt so badly that I wanted to cry.

But I did it, and I did it without skipping a day. Looking at all the crossed-out days on my training plan gives me a sense of accomplishment as will crossing both the start and finish line tomorrow.

But then what?

What happens when the euphoria of the day wears off? What happens when the race is over and the congratulations stop?

What do I have to look forward to?

Well, I have a bit of an off-season to look forward to.

Don’t get me wrong — I love to run, but I can tell when my body is ready for both a physical and mental break. It’s been pushing hard for me, and it can’t wait to have some time without a huge goal to work toward.

I’m going to resume swimming once or twice a week. Doing laps from one end of the pool to the other is methodical and peaceful in early hours of the morning. My half-marathon training only afforded me time for two days of strength training a week, but now I’ll have more time to lift and get strong — more time to prepare my muscles for the intensity of marathon training this summer.  I’m even going to be able to give some days to outside adventures with my fiance — probably what I’m most excited for! I’ve missed our long hikes and bike rides, and the spring weather will present the perfect opportunity for us to get outside.

Until mid-Jun — when the training for my first marathon begins — I’ll be free to pursue some of my other beloved physical activities, and I’m using that thought to combat any post-race depression (yes, it’s a real thing!).

I’m trying not to think about what all training for a marathon over the summer will entail because I know that it will be the most grueling process yet. For now, I want to give my mind and body the break that they so desperately deserve. They’ve carried me so far and have helped me accomplish so much. It’s time to repay their efforts with some much needed downtime.

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