Q+A: I’ve done my first marathon - what next?

Q I’m 48 years old, and thanks to the training I’ve been doing for my first marathon I’ve gone down a dress size and feel great. I’m currently running 11-minute miles, and have just run my first marathon, but I really want to know what sort of training I should be doing now. I want to maintain my new-found fitness after completing 26.2 miles. I’m a member of a sports club with a swimming pool and a gym, so can you recommend a programme that combines running, swimming and gym work (preferably with emphasis on the running, as I love being outdoors)?

A The first thing to bear in mind is that you will need to take things easy for a couple of weeks after running the marathon. But after that your background of fitness will enable you to move onto a higher plane.

I recommend having some short-term goals, because they’re better for motivation than the non-specific one of just keeping fit. I suggest that for the five months after your first marathon you think of running for a total of two hours a week, swimming one hour a week, and spending 30-40 minutes per week on gym work.

For the running, try to do one session a week of speedwork, with things like 10 x 1 minute fast, two minutes slow (or 12 x 200m fast, 200m jog if you’re on the track). This should enable you to try a 10K race.

In the autumn you might move over to more indoor and less outdoor work, and in the winter you might reduce the exercise load to one run, one swim and one gym session. There are endless permutations, but I advise that you do more of what you enjoy most. You should also have at least one rest day a week, to be taken when you feel you need it. The key is that there should be a point in the week, not necessarily a Monday morning, where you feel recovered and ready to take on whatever the next week will throw at you.

Bruce Tulloh, RW Coaching Editor