It’s almost two weeks since I ran the Paris Marathon, and I’m just about feeling back to normal, and I don’t mean physically.
Of course I had aching muscles, a sore knee and general fatigue, but they all passed relatively quickly with the help of a sports massage, plenty of sleep and some healthy eating. What I’m talking about is the mental recovery following a marathon. This may sound dramatic, but it’s by far the hardest aspect to recover from, and the “marathon blues” can have quite a profound effect.
Let’s think about it some more: the mental marathon journey probably begins months and months before the event, perhaps even years for some people. Finally, after numerous conversations and research, you enter. Euphoria hits, and you can’t believe that you’re actually doing it. More time passes as you choose your marathon schedule, and start building your base and before you know it you’re ,“officially training.”
People are right in thinking that training for a marathon takes up a lot of time. With running on average 5 times per week, with your long run eventually taking upwards of 3 hours to complete, and some cross training thrown in for good measure, it’s time consuming to say the least.
However, the training doesn’t finish as soon as you take off your trainers. When you’re not running, you’re most likely thinking about it. Whether it’s from working out how to fit in your training over the next few days, worrying about an injury or if you’re eating the right things, to lying awake wondering whether it’s all going to be worth it, you’re thinking about running.
All this worsens as you approach the big day, when the well known “maranoia” kicks in. If you weren’t already thinking about the marathon enough before, you certainly will be now. Injuries you never had are now worrying you, race day logistics playing on your mind and just a general sense of fear/ excitement overwhelming every passing minute.
But, soon enough race day comes and you’re off! You give it your best shot, hopefully enjoy it along the way, cross the finish line, and just like that, it’s over.
Obviously you’re elated and riding the post- marathon high for a good few days, but things begin to change. Normal life continues but something’s not quite right, a sort of lingering emptiness if you like, and that my friends, is the “marathon blues.” (Not, an actual medical definition, you understand.)
I suppose it’s inevitable that after months of not just running, but thinking/reading/ dreaming about it, that you’ll feel sad when it’s all over, but it doesn’t make it any easier!
So, the marathon blues had left me a little deflated, but I’m pleased to say, I’ve come out the other end. I’d promised myself one week off to recover, but I was itching to get back to training/ scheming and general busy-ness as soon as possible.
So, what have I got planned?
I’ve got quite a lot coming up in the next few months and I’m excited about pretty much all of it. Despite having some huge challenges ahead, what I’m enjoying most at the moment is my new found flexibility. For example, this weekend we’re off to Scotland to visit family. I’ll take my running kit, and hopefully we’ll get out on the forest trails for a run or two, but it’s planning to be miserable weather and the knowledge that I don’t have to run in the peeing rain just because the schedule says so it’s so refreshing! If I don’t make it out, then so be it, we may well have a nicer time tucked up on the sofa!
But, sofa snuggling aside, here’s what I’ve got coming up:
- The Cotswold 100– I mentioned in my New Year’s Resolution post that I wanted to run an ultra marathon. Luckily, I have a good friend who was up for the challenge so we’ve signed up to this four day running event in June. I’m not following a specific schedule and am hoping that my marathon training will put me in good stead. I’m going to aim for long trail runs at a leisurely pace as often as possible, and if I’m truly honest, it’s the prospect of putting up a tent everyday that is worrying me more than the running…
- Richmond Park Marathon– I’ve signed up to this as a training run for the Cotswold 100. It’s a hilly, trail race, so will mimic the terrain of the Cotswolds. I’m certainly not entering this as a “race,” but just want to cover the miles slowly and get them in the legs. It’s multiple laps, so Bex and Cristiano have offered (been delegated) to be support crew- they’ll take a picnic and take it in turns to run laps with me which will make it more enjoyable, and hopefully easier too.
- Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide– After suffering various injuries in my marathon training, I’ve realised I really need to do some body conditioning. Paired with the fact that the transformation photos on Instagram are incredible, I’ve decided to start this 12 week guide. It essentially consists of 3 circuit workouts a week, as well as some low intensity cardio which I’ll cover in the form of running. I’ve just completed week one and loved it. Luckily Bex and a few friends are doing it too, so we’re motivating each other via a WhatsApp group, as well as meeting in the gym to complete the workouts together.
- Kilamanjaro Trek– For years I’ve wanted to be an expedition doctor and accompany groups on treks around the world. It’s probably inspired by my Dad who’s been doing this for years, and making me perpetually jealous. However, with the end of my training in sight, I decided to look into this, and am in the selection process for an organisation as we speak- please keep your fingers and toes crossed!
- Open water swimming– I had my first experience of proper open water swimming last year, and I just loved it, even more than running. Much more, actually. So with that in mind, I’d like to do some more this summer. I’ll be off to the Lakes again in August so will be sure to take my wetsuit, but I’ve also got my eye on some open water events at Eton Dorney… I think I’ll just have to wait and see how the above goes!
I obviously get over the marathon blues by signing up for more events, but everyone’s different. How do you tackle the blues?