Thursday, May 11, 2006

Those Post Marathon Blues

My buddy Scooter has felt a big let down after running the Boston Marathon (and not really being happy with his time has compounded the feeling), and a large number of the people I trained with for the Vancouver Marathon have been wondering what to do with themselves now that they all this extra time on their hands. There is a hole in their life where once there was a marathon looming on the horizon. Not to speak of all that time spent running...

Ahhh, the old marathon post-partum blues... I get them after finishing races, books, screenplays, just about anything that you've been devoting a big chunk of your life to completing. It really does go with the territory! It's crucial to stop and take a moment to consider what you have just accomplished, however, and even more important to savour the achievement.

It's important to remember that you are not alone. Having a sense of ennui after finishing a marathon is perfectly normal. You just invested a huge amount of time, effort and passion into something that seemed at times to take over your life. Now it's over. What you need is a new goal or a new direction to take your mind off of what you have just finished.

You need to look forward instead of backwards! Having done more than a dozen marathons - culminating in Boston - and almost that many ultras, I have to say that there are times and days when my running buddies are all that keep me going. It is tough to overestimate the benefits of time spent with people who understand what you are experiencing. And you have the added benefits of getting feedback from people who are like-minded souls and who share your passion for the open trail and the wind in your face. Well, that and the breakfasts after Sunday morning long runs and the pasta meals after speed work!

If you have just finished a marathon, why not seriously consider doing another where you can pass along some of your newfound knowledge? Become a Pace Group Leader. I can not tell you the joy that comes from sharing your knowledge with new runners who are eager to try on a marathon for the first time. With a family it can be tough to find the time, but few things top running with other people who can understand what you're going through.

High mileage can lead to high burnout rates. It's important to give both your body AND your mind time to recover after the rigours of training for a marathon. Why not set your sights on doing some personal bests in some 5Ks and other shorter races? Variety is the spice of life. (I was foolish enough to buy a tri bike!)

But stop to smell the flowers. Put your feet up for a while. You've earned it. And put your marathon medal up on the wall in a prominent place where you can see it. Chances are it will inspire you to take on another challenge in life. And you've already proven you're up to the task!


Blogger Anthony Epp said...

Great comments! Probably the most difficult thing to overcome, and you offer some very sound advice.

7:54:00 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

When masters swimming season is over (usually at the end of April), I fill the void by going in running races. When competitive running season is over (i.e. when it's too cold to race in a singlet and shorts -- I know, I know, I'm a wimp), masters swimming season is just starting up again. I love the balance that I get from doing two sports. Between running and swimming, I can usually compete in at least one event every month of the year.

12:31:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home