9 tips to maintain your half-marathon momentum

by | Oct 20, 2021 | Technical Articles

Congratulations on running your Autumn half marathon! Here’s how to keep your fitness and motivation going now the race is over.

Training for a half marathon takes dedication. Not only did you spend months ticking off the training programme, but the sessions were long. It’s no surprise that many runners feel a little lost once their half marathon is over.

But there’s so much to be gained by keeping up the momentum you built. You might be the fittest you’ve ever been right now. You’ve certainly embedded some valuable habits around training and nutrition, and learned a lot about time management. Let’s look at ways to keep hold of the key benefits of half marathon training – without doing it all over again!

Get back out there:

It’s common for runners to get out of the running habit after completing a big challenge like a half-marathon. The trick here is to give yourself some much-needed rest without losing touch with your running routine. If you haven’t run since your half-marathon, promise yourself you will run today or tomorrow.

Set a weekly goal:

You need to set a new weekly target that is realistic and enjoyable. You no longer need to tick sessions off a training programme. What do you want to do? How many runs a week can you fit in? Consider your work and life schedules and map out a reasonable weekly target to hit.

Stay accountable:

How will you stay accountable to your new target? If you have a running buddy, check in with them. Online communities like the running4women.com group are a great way to stay accountable to people just like you. Or you can use a training log, app, or journal.

Explore new routes:

If half-marathon training left you feeling bored of the same old routes, treat yourself by only running new ones (or adding new bits in) for at least two weeks. Or you can run regular routes back-to-front. Or go out at different times (this is a great time of year to enjoy sunrise runs!) Just one of these ideas should be enough to reignite your passion for getting out and exploring.

Tidy up your nutrition:

You might find that your half-marathon training diet isn’t warranted now that you’ve dialled your weekly mileage down. Spend a week planning meals, tracking your calorie and protein intake and making an effort to eat more fruit and veg. You’ll feel lighter and more energised.

Revisit your portion sizes:

During half-marathon training your appetite was probably higher than usual, and you were fuelling up on larger portions to meet your energy expenditure. Now the race is over, it’s worth looking at the portion sizes you’ve been serving up. Would it be a good idea to scale back a bit?

New forms of fitness:

One of the lovely things about finishing a race challenge is that you get so much time back! This could be a great opportunity to use some of that half-marathon running time for yoga, walking, or a different type of fitness like exercise classes or a sport you’ve been meaning to try. Look at what your local leisure centre has to offer.

A 12-week training plan:

Half-marathon runners often like structure and thrive on a training plan. But your body and mind need a bit of a break. If you want to design a 12-week plan to take you into the New Year, focus on key sessions. This will help you run mindfully and not add junk mileage for the sake of it.

These key sessions might look like:

Running 2 x a week: intervals, medium distance run
Running 3 x a week: intervals, hills, medium distance run
Running 4 x a week: intervals, hills, medium distance run, recovery/leisure run

And your next goal is…:

If you’ve got the racing bug, why not start looking for your next goal? There are plenty of 5K, 5 mile and 10K races around Christmas time, then it will be Spring and Easter will 10Ks, 10 milers, and half marathons. Or maybe you want to step it up to marathon distance for 2022. It won’t hurt to start looking now!