Beating the post marathon blues

Considering I left the Nike Women’s Marathon on such a high two Sundays ago, it doesn’t surprise me that I’m feeling rush of post marathon blues (and probably combined with the post vacation blues as well!).  This feeling is new to me; I’ve never felt these emotions after a race before.  Perhaps it’s because I usually have a race already planned to run, allowing me to have a new goal in sight.  However, despite the number of races I have coming up (WDW Wine & Dine 1/2 on 11/9 and WDW Goofy’s Challenge in January), I’m stiiill feeling some slight sadness after the high from the marathon.

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Just finished 26.2?  I’m thinking it’s okay to rest, recover, and just walk to the mailbox ;)

Seeing tweets and Facebook posts and news galore about the Marine Corps Marathon this past weekend, and the hype and excitement leading up to the NYCM this upcoming weekend, I’ll admit, brought up a little bit of jealousy in me!  After a race, I’m always itching for the next one.  But then I really got to thinking … we marathoners dedicate hours upon hours and miles upon miles for months.  We give up “sleeping in” on weekends to go on 16-22 mile runs.  We deal with aches and pains that make even going down the stairs a miserable task.  And all for what?  All of that time and dedication for a race that ends in 3-5 hours?

Yes, actually.  And much more.

While my post marathon blues aren’t severe, I’ve conjured up a couple of tips for myself–and others–to move forward from a race and onto whatever is next:

1. Recognize what you gained from the training, the race, and the overall experience.  The marathon is more than just the race.  As I wrote about before, we learn a lot about ourselves and our lives during training.  We build stamina, determination, endurance, and will–all of which we use when we’re not in our running shoes.  It’s not over once we cross the finish line.

2. Reconnect with your life outside of running.  All those things you loved to do before you decided do sell your soul and lose your life to the running and racing world?  Get back into them.  Studies show that it does not hurt you or your physical stamina to take time outside of running, whether it be weeks or a month.  Perhaps use this opportunity to try another activity–yoga, zumba, cycling, swimming, who knows!  Even better, sleep in! ;)

3. Ease your way back into it.  After your recovery period, take baby steps.  A run, here or there.  Remember why you started running in the first place!  It’s quite possible that you started running long before you decided to start signing up for races.  Remind yourself of that reason.

4. Set a new goal.  If you’re anything like me, you’re addicted to races.  There’s no question about it.  The high I feel during those events is unlike any I’ve ever experienced; nothing compares.  So why not sign up for another?  Who knows when it will be, but it provides you with an opportunity to create a new training and race experience.  For me, I’ll be running the Walt Disney World Marathon in January of 2014, so it won’t be long before I finish another 26.2.  But your goal doesn’t have to be race related.  Maybe it’s mileage related–choose to run a certain number of miles a week.  It doesn’t matter; what does matter is that similar to a marathon, you’ve got your eyes on a prize.

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How lucky are we to be able to experience the high of a marathon in the first place?  The feeling of being down after the high?  It is temporary, and, in time, will pass.  And just as it was up to you to keep up with your marathon training, it is up to you to find what works for you after you cross the finish line.

Have you ever felt down after completing a race?  How do you deal with the post-marathon blues?

Janine

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