After leaving it all out there in a mentally draining race, the best thing you can do is let that performance sink in and allow your mind time to recover. Don’t go racing right away like I did. And that same principle applies to hard training…you think you need to hit the workouts hard for your final five week push, but five weeks is a LOT of time.
I like to say, never let an accomplishment go uncelebrated. If you are in a rush to get back into the grind, you will miss an opportunity to pat yourself on the back and gain confidence from what you have already done. A good dose of confidence can do more for you than a week of workouts. Seriously.
If it were me, I’d recover for 3-5 days doing light running, maybe one brisk run in there if you feel good. Then my first two workouts back would be fairly light…the automatic type workouts that you don’t need to get amped for. For me that would be a tempo run and some 200′s or something like that, or maybe a mixture of tempo and race pace. If you tease the body with some very doable workouts first, you allow your body to recover and your mind gets hungry again to work hard. All you really need is a solid two and a half weeks within that five week block, with 3 or 4 workouts that push your buttons, and you’ll be ready to rip another great race.
Trust me, after a tough race, turning into a puddle of drool on the sofa watching repeats of “Saved by the Bell” is under-rated. Just check out the state of my apartment after my last veg-out.