After spending 18 weeks of grueling training five days per week, the last thing you want to do is throw away all your hard work. Sure, your body is tired and sore, and it deserves a break, but you can easily maintain your training and level of fitness with a simple maintenance program while you ponder your new goal.
After finishing a race your body needs recovery time. For the average recreational running this is usually about two weeks for a 10km race, three weeks for a half-marathon and four weeks for a full marathon run.
For 10km racers, try to keep up with your long-distance runs, 8km, once per week. Use your new-found skill of 5km fast run as your base training. You can even run the 5km races to keep your training up.
Half marathoners can maintain their endurance by continuing with the regular 12km run each week and enter into 10km races as alternatives. This will keep up your speed, strength and confidence.
Full marathoners need to work the hardest. Running a 16km run every other week will help condition the body long term to keep up the endurance. Maintaining a 16km run can shorten training for your next marathon to as little as 12 weeks and faster half-marathons in six weeks!
Remember to set realistic goal targets for both races and runs. This will keep you motivated, boost your self-confidence and stimulate your performance on race day.