How to choose your next goal after a marathon

Running a marathon is a thrill – no matter if you set a Personal Best or crawl home to the finish line.


Either way, running 26.2 miles is an achievement that most people will never accomplish. It takes guts, perseverance, and a fitness level that sets marathoners apart from mere mortals.

Despite the enormous achievement, many runners feel lost after the race.

And I don’t blame them (I certainly languished after I ran my 2:39:32 PR at the Philadelphia Marathon). After dedicating about six months to training, what do you do after you’re finally done with the marathon?

Do you try for another marathon?

Do you focus on an entirely different type of race?

Or perhaps take the rest of the year off and enjoy a life of leisure and potato chips?

While many runners dream of not running, we know that it’s not in our DNA. Like one of my athletes told me recently:

It’s a slippery slope! We love running – but at the same time, we curse it.

So how do we balance our need to run with the need for time off? How do we stay excited for running?

Q&A with Coach: What to Focus on After a Marathon

In my mind, there are only three big areas that you can focus on after you race a marathon.

I dive into each one in the latest episode of Q&A with Coach. But I also go over optimal marathon recovery so don’t miss it:

Topics Discussed and Resources:

The most important aspect of post-marathon running is to have a plan… even when that plan is to have no plan!

Take about a week off, enjoy a week or two of easy running, and then start training again for your next goal.

If you need help, we have a Season Planner Worksheet that helps you answer a lot of tough questions:

  • How many tune-up races should you run before your main goal?
  • What distance should those tune-ups be? How close to the goal race?
  • How long should your entire season be?
  • What are the 3 phases of training that should be present in your season?

You can download the free worksheet here.

Best of luck to all those racing Boston today!

Get Stronger & Run Healthy

Join our free course to help you better prevent injuries, develop runner-specific strength, and avoid the big mistakes that get runners hurt