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How do you maintain your fitness post-marathon?

SIS Science In Sport gel pack with runner
Just finished the marathon and trying to stay focused and motivated into the summer? We partnered with SiS Ambassador, Tom Wake to help you maintain that post-marathon momentum.

Just finished the marathon and trying to stay focused and motivated into the summer? We partnered with SiS Ambassador, Tom Wake to help you maintain that post-marathon momentum...

Top tips for keeping up momentum post-marathon

Marathon? Tick. But what’s next? Once you’ve achieved the goal of running a marathon, it can be tricky to keep going with your training, especially if you need that external motivation. Ultra marathon runner and SiS Ambassador Tom Wake can relate…

“If you’re anything like me, having a target race really helps with focus and motivation for my training. I launched into the New Year with my eyes firmly set on the London Marathon. I had a target time in mind and things were looking good. However, there are always challenges and hurdles to overcome, from torrential rain disrupting training to a global crisis postponing races.”

So what do you do when you’ve put in three months of hard training and you want to maintain that fitness?

Don't panic!

First of all, don’t panic. If you’ve shown commitment and dedication to your training the first time around, you can do it again. It will be hard work, however with the right frame of mind and focus, you’ll be ready to go again after a reset.

It’s very easy to want to keep up your marathon training, week on week, month on month, building upon the miles each time, especially if your training has been going well, you’re injury free and have reached a peak in your fitness. The only way to move forward is to accept that you will lose some of this in order to stay fit and healthy. If your spring marathon has been postponed until autumn, there’s little point in attempting to maintain the same volume and intensity of training that you’re used to. It could lead to overtraining, injuries, tiredness and fatigue.

“The last thing you want is some enforced rest, so the key is to take your foot off the gas and maintain a healthy level of training.” Tom Wake

Re-evaluate your training schedule

Cutting back the volume and intensity will help you to recover from your hard training block so that you’re ready to go again and give it your all.

If you’re still able to run, have a think about the ways that you can vary your training to keep it interesting. This includes things like:

  • Seeking out new routes
  • Setting yourself some personal challenge and goals
  • Throwing different sessions into the mix 
  • Training with runners that will both motivate you and share your passion for running. Now you’ve completed your marathon, it can be a team sport once again!

If you’ve mainly been running on the road, have a look at some alternative trail routes. See if you can come up with challenges like running to roads in your local area containing the letters of your name or instead of doing your regular tempo or speed session, have a play around with a fartlek session using local landmarks.

Consider other ways to cross-train

One of the most demotivating things can be getting stuck doing the same old things day in day out. Take the opportunity post marathon to branch out and try new things, new activities, new exercises.

Whether that be going to a group class at your gym or trying out a new form of exercise to compliment your training, such as yoga or pilates, the excitement of something new in your life is a great way of teaching your body to adapt and evolve and will maintain that motivation.

What other forms of training should you look at?

Cross-training is a great way to maintain fitness whilst also trying out different sports.

If you’re predominately a runner and have access to a bike, gym, or home exercise equipment, have a think about throwing some different sessions into your week. There are lots of different workouts that you could do to add variety to your training and prevent overuse injuries through the training of different muscle groups. You can also use cross-training as active recovery, for example, going for an easy cycle ride the day after a longer run.

Home workouts are another way to maintain fitness and build muscle that will help your training when you’re ready to focus again. Have a think about different workouts that you can do to help build your core stability. These will really help with running posture and technique and you’ll hopefully notice the difference when you pick up the training again.

If you need some ideas, there are lots of apps available that give you daily workouts to do.

Remember to stay consistent

The key is consistency. As long as you keep training consistently and reduce the intensity/volume, you’ll be able to maintain your fitness. Ensure that you get enough sleep, eat healthily and drink lots of water.

Tom also highlights that “post marathon, you can continue to use energy gels to support your training. Whether I’m in peak marathon training mode or not, I always ensure that I’m replenishing glycogen stores, vitamins and minerals that I lose during exercise. Check out the wide variety of SiS Go Gels and Hydration tabs.”

Who are SiS?

Now you know all about post-marathon fitness, we thought we’d briefly explain who SiS are. Standing for Science in Sport, SiS are a leading endurance nutrition brand. They combine world-class knowledge and scientific formulations to create optimal solutions to support you.

The final say

The key to all of this is to enjoy maintaining your running and fitness. Train for the love of what you do and don’t worry about pace or times, the pressure is off… for now.

To help you keep up the momentum, check out the full range of Science in Sport products online today.

Tom Wake

SiS Ambassador, trail, ultra-marathon runner and coach.

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