I love the first run after any big race, because there’s no pressure. You’ve run your big event. There’s no pressure to go fast, or far, you’re just there to ease back into your running routine. You can go wherever you like, as fast or slow as you like, as long or short as you like.
It’s beautiful, and it helps me remember what I love about running.
You might wonder why, if I enjoy this running freedom, I train for races at all.
One benefit is that the weeks of training make me appreciate the weeks that I’m not training, and vice versa. I like having some running months where I’m taking it easy because it’s winter, some where I’m pushing hard towards a goal that I’m excited about, and some where I’m just enjoying the beautiful fall weather with as many miles as I feel like.
I’ve also noticed that I enjoy running after a big race more because I have the endurance I’ve built during my training, but I’m running fewer miles. Suddenly, instead of pushing hard each week, I’m running more than I would have before my training but it’s easier. You don’t feel the benefits of all your training while you’re still training, because you’re working close to maximum capacity and doing more each week. It’s not until after the race when you head out for a casual run that you realize it’s easier than it used to be.
I used to be nervous the first run after a big race. After all, you taper your mileage before the race, so it feels like you’ve kind of quit running, then you recover after the race, which feels like you quit running, and suddenly you’re out going for a run with no purpose or schedule telling you what to do.
It feels strange!
But it’s incredibly freeing, too.
Happy racing – remember to use those new legs after you recover! You’ve earned them 🙂