It’s no secret that runners love to run. We are a passionate, driven, and committed bunch. We love the feeling of crossing the finish line on race day, of testing our pace and limits, and of course, of being part of a community.
But what happens when we’re not training for a race?
How do we maintain our marathon fitness level outside the race training cycle? The answer is: we have to get creative.
Here are some tips on how to stay marathon fit when you’re not training for a race:
1. Find a training plan that works for you
The first step is to find a training schedule and plan that works for you. If you’re not training for a specific race, you can still follow a training plan to maintain your fitness. There are a number of different training plans available online, in running magazines, and from running coaches. Find one that fits your schedule and your goals and helps you keep running strong.
2. Rest and recover
Rest and recovery are essential for maintaining fitness and avoiding burnout post goal race. Make sure to take a few days off from exercise each week and to get plenty of sleep. It’s also important to focus on nutrition and staying hydrated. Eating a healthy diet and drinking plenty of water will help your body recover from your runs and stay healthy.
Taking one or two days off from running each week will help your body recover and prevent injuries. Use your rest days to do some cross-training or simply take a break from exercise altogether.
If running is something that has been part of your life before marathon training (which it probably will), consider taking a holiday from running if possible so that when the next race season hits again, there won’t be any surprises for both yourself and others around those expectations! Think about whether there were any changes in performance during training which could have been avoided by simply taking more rest days earlier on; now might also be an opportune moment for reflecting on how much fun running itself was—or perhaps looking back at all those PBs from previous races!
3. Cross train
Cross-training is a great way to keep your body fit and maintain running fitness, whether you’re training for a marathon or not. It can be done at home or outside, and there are lots of different activities that can be done:
- Cardio exercise: Jogging, swimming, biking (or even walking if it’s warm enough), etc.
- Strength training: Weight lifting weights or using resistance bands like the ones at the gym. You could also try using resistance bands in your own basement gym!
- Yoga is another great way to get strong muscles without looking like you have bulging biceps when you aren’t working out hard enough yet!
4. Strength train
Strength training is important for all runners, even if you’re not training for a marathon. Running is a high-impact sport, so it’s important to keep your muscles strong. Strength training will help you avoid injuries and will make you a better runner overall.
5. Get enough sleep
Sleep is essential for all runners, but it’s especially important when you’re not training for a marathon. When you’re not training, your body is in a state of repair. Getting enough sleep will help your body recover from your runs and will make you a stronger runner.
6. Eat well
Eating a nutritious diet is important for all runners, but it’s especially important when you’re not training for a marathon. When you’re not training, your body is in a state of repair. Eating a healthy diet will help your body recover from your runs and will make you a stronger runner.
Eating lots of processed and junk food will only make you feel sluggish and can lead to weight gain. Stick to eating healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein.
7. Stay motivated
It’s easy to lose motivation when you’re not training for your next race. But it’s important to stay motivated. Remind yourself why you love running and why you want to be a marathoner. Set small goals such as running a certain mileage per week or completing a certain workout and celebrate when you reach them. Having these smaller goals will help you stay on track and motivated to keep running.
8. Continue to run regularly
Just because you aren’t training for a specific race doesn’t mean you should stop running altogether. In fact, continuing to run regularly is one of the best ways to maintain your marathon fitness. Aim to run at least 3-4 times per week, even if it’s just a short run. This will help you stay in shape and maintain your endurance.
9. Join a running group
Joining a running group is a great way to stay motivated and meet other runners. Running with a group can make the long runs go by faster and help you stay accountable. If you’re looking for a running group, check out your local running store or search online. There are often running groups that meet up regularly for runs and social events.
10. Have fun
Above all, make sure you’re still having fun. Whether you are marathon training or not running should be enjoyable, so don’t let it become a chore. If you’re not having fun, it’s time to reassess your goals and your training plan.
Following these tips and recovery plan will help you maintain marathon fitness when you’re not training for a race. And who knows, you might even find that you enjoy running even more when you’re not training for a marathon!