Half way there
A half-marathon is one of the hardest fitness achievements to progress from.
The next logical step is running a full marathon, but this requires an extra 21km of running.
The training required to get there is significantly greater than what was needed to go from 5km to 10km, 10km to 15km, and 15km to 21km, which is often how runners progress to their first half.
Many people don’t want to take on this training load, instead, they switch their focus to something else.
It might be running a specific distance in a shorter time, or it could be a focus away from running to focus on something different.
Whatever the goal might be, it’s important to have a clear goal.
Many people enjoy having the half-marathon goal to work towards and benefit from having a progressive training regime to take them there.
It becomes easy to see how the work is done in week two seems like nothing compared to what you are doing in week ten, with the difference being from your increased fitness.
But when this goal is completed, if there’s no new goal to work towards it becomes easy to fall away from having any structure and quickly lose the fitness gains they had built.
This is where it becomes vital to be clear on what the next goal is, ideally maintaining a component of the previous one.
For the half marathoner, it might be focusing on some strength work in the gym while looking to maintain a similar time over 15km.
It is a good idea to keep some component of the current goal in the regime, so you don’t lose all of the gains.
Many people have run half and full marathons only to stop running the months after they complete the goal.
Two years later they cannot run 5km, which is tough to stomach when they came off such a high base.
The long-term goal should be to push your training into different areas while maintaining some elements of everything you have achieved.
While strength training might have been a previous focus for me, I’m not currently putting in the work required to build my squat or bench press by 40% in the next year.
But it’s important that I don’t neglect strength training completely, because that will begin to undo some of the skill acquisition and gains that have been made in that area.
It takes a long time to build skills and fitness, but they can go very quickly if they aren’t used.
But if you do a little bit of maintenance work, you can prevent the losses and protect the gains you have made.