I Completed My First Marathon, Now What?
I crossed “running a marathon” off of my bucket list when I completed my first marathon in April of 2017. Now knowing my body’s (and mind’s) limits more than ever before, I think 26.2 miles will be the farthest I will ever run, and I will always be proud of what I accomplished running my first marathon. This summer, I have been enjoying running for fun, with less pressure of hard core training. But after plenty of time to reflect and rejuvenate, I am now starting to make plans for what’s next.
Here are my ways to challenge myself in running, despite already accomplishing “the biggest race” that I will probably ever run:
First, Adjusting My Expectations
What once was my half way point, ten miles has now become one of the top distances of my long runs. On my shorter runs of under six miles, sometimes I feel my pace to be slower than what it once was, and I don’t feel as “fast” during speed training as I was at the peak of my marathon training. All of these scenarios come with not training as hard and adjusting to the summer weather conditions. The first thing to keep in mind in order to still challenge myself in running is to adjust my expectations and be ok with where I am at.
Trying New Ways of Training and Fitness
Because I have taken this summer as a time to run for fun and enjoy other activities, I have also had the opportunity to try new ways of training and fitness. I have tried to fit in weight training once or twice a week, which still isn’t a lot, but more than I did in the past. And most importantly, I have taken advantage of being active outdoors during the most beautiful time of the year in Minnesota. I have explored many of the beautiful Minneapolis trails on bike, and learned that you can get much farther on a bike than you can by running! My friends and I have also spent time together walking around the awesome Minneapolis lakes. Although less intense than running, these activities have allowed me to still get outside and enjoy being active, while making memories with friends and family while doing it.
Running Another Marathon (Someday)
Maybe now is the not the time, but I know someday I would like to train and run another marathon. Growing up in the Twin Cities and hearing the many reasons to run the Twin Cities Marathon, I know that someday I would like to have that race under my belt. Keeping this in mind, I will keep on distance running, and participate in 5ks, 10-milers, and halfs, knowing that I will one day run another 26.2.
Combining Running With Other Passions
I am very grateful to Minneapolis Running to allow me to combine my passions for writing and running. Through writing for the Minneapolis Running blog, I am able to further explore both of these passions. This experience has got me thinking of other ways I can grow and challenge myself in running and in my other passions. With one of my other loves, traveling, and having the opportunity to study abroad in Europe this fall, I decided to register for a half marathon while I am there, combining running with my passion for traveling to new places!
If running is already a big part of your life, I challenge you to see what other activities you can combine it with to further strengthen your passions, whether it’s running with a family member because spending time with family is something very important to you, trying out and sharing new recipes for pre/post-run meals because you love cooking, or volunteering at races because you love volunteerism. By no means should running be a part of every aspect of your life and completely take over, but I do think that a little bit of running sprinkled into your other activities and passions won’t do any hurt!
And as Always, Encouraging Others to Run
Although I am not training for a marathon at the moment, I can still encourage others through my running. I can invite others to run with me, or encourage others who may think running isn’t for them to try it out anyways. I learned that you don’t have to be running marathons to inspire and encourage others.
Related: Why Everyone Should Try Running
Overcoming the “Now What” Feeling
Despite already accomplishing my lifelong goal of running a marathon, I am still finding new ways to challenge myself in running. I am enjoying running and doing my best to encourage others while doing it, and for me, that is really what it is all about.
What did you do to still challenge yourself after completing your first marathon? Has your experience been similar to mine?