Keeping Your Marathon Training on Track

by Karl Gruber
So the marathon that you had trained so long and hard for over many, many weeks is now behind you. Yes, you did it! You successfully ran 26.2 miles and now your finisher’s medal hangs prominently on your rec room wall. Congratulations, but let’s keep it going! 
I always like to keep my runners pointed towards the direction of their next race, keeping them in a good training cycle. While it is difficult to think about your next running goal, especially after having put forth so much time and effort towards your most recent race, it’s not impossible. The key here is to simply get back out on the road and start running. Remember, integrating running into your lifestyle produces a healthy, fit, strong and stress-free body.
Now that you are back running with consistency, set your sights on a new goal and challenge. If you’re like me, you’ll love the idea of a “run-cation.” Choose a place you’ve always wanted to go to and see if there is a marathon. I finally got to visit the island paradise of Hawaii when I chose to run the Honolulu Marathon. You can have fun exploring and enjoying this new place after your race. 
Another way to stay on track with your summer training is by running with your local training group or running club. Virtually every community in America has some sort of running group. Pittsburgh has the Steel City Road Runners. When a weekend group run is scheduled, you tend to show up because you know people are expecting you to be there. Many times I have been tempted to blow-off a run but showed up and usually had a way better time than if I had run by myself or not at all. Many training clubs will also set a goal race for the group, thereby automatically giving you a new running goal. Running a marathon as a part of a training group enhances camaraderie and tends to create life-long running buddies.
The best part of consistently running and setting new goals is that so much of what you learn and experience via your running can be directly applied to almost every area of your life. Determination, perseverance, goal-setting, patience and exceeding your limitations – that’s what I’m talking about. So allow yourself to get past any self-doubt or reluctance on moving forward and just run for it! I can assure you, you will never have to look back as you keep your eyes and mind focused on that next finish line.
"I always loved running... it was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs."
- Jesse Owens, Ohio State University Track Great, and winner of 4 Gold Medals in the 1936 Olympics

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