Post Marathon Blues – Filling the Void

I haven’t ever had a baby but I’ve been carrying this “marathon baby” for months and now suddenly it’s over.¬† I’ve delivered…….errrr a accomplished my goal! ūüôā¬† I went through these same post marathon blues after¬†Boston¬†and¬†Utah Valley Marathon.

Once the euphoria wears off I think it is incredibly common to feel a little bummed-out and maybe even disconnected?¬† Your immune system is still a bit depressed from the¬†pounding you’ve put it through¬†and the training and preparation that was such a huge part of your life is now gone.¬† For me it has all been heightened this time around¬†as I’m dealing with some nagging injuries and although I should be reveling in my accomplishment I instead have found myself down and confused.¬† I am not bringing up this topic because I want sympathy but rather because it is real and something that many runners deal with that is rarely brought to the surface.¬† Training at the level I was training at for¬†Top of Utah Marathon¬†basically consumed most aspects of my life. It was demanding and required¬†an incredibly high level of commitment.¬† It was thrilling and I¬†truly loved the training wholeheartedly but it was time consuming and took a lot of my energy.¬† I was so focused on the goal¬†that even when I wasn’t actually running I would find myself visualizing the race or analyzing and researching the course.¬†

“During the training period, you‚Äôre constantly stimulating the body to release endorphins. These endorphins do a wonderful work of improving the runner‚Äôs mood and give her a feeling of euphoria during¬†exercises¬†and practice sessions. The high continues through your training and peaks on the days close to the final run. However, once you‚Äôve met your goal and there is nothing more to keep you as stimulated, there is a sudden drop in the endorphin level, which causes a temporary feeling of unexplained sadness and emptiness.”

Now that the race is over I’m left with a bit of a void.¬† Fortunately I was able to acknowledge this emptiness early on and here are some tips I’m using to “fill the void”.

1.¬† Relax!¬† It sounds simple right?¬† You just ran the greatest race of your life so take a free ticket and¬†just chill.¬† This is easier said than done for the typical runner personality.¬† I’ve found that for me truly relaxing means doing something fun like going out to a movie with my sister, staying up late hanging out with my family eating popcorn all night, or catching up on the 20 People magazines I neglected while I was training.

2.  Focus on others!  Something that I have found incredibly helpful for me in getting over this slump is helping my friends that are new runners or that are currently training for a race.  I know I am no running expert by any means but I absolutely love helping others discover a passion for running.  Focusing on my friends running has been just as fun, if not funner than thinking about my own.

3.¬† Get outside!¬† I¬†discovered that for me part of the reason I love running is that I simply love being outdoors.¬† So I’ve been taking long walks with the pup, hiking in the mountains, and soaking in all of the beautiful fall foliage in Payson canyon.

4.¬† Socialize!¬† It has been so fun to reconnect with friends I’ve lost touch with while training for the marathon.¬† I’ve been able to meet up with a few friends and just talk and am looking forward to fun trip to Moab this weekend with a bunch of¬†crazies!

5.  Revisit your non-running hobbies!  I love to bargain shop, cook, and craft and I have found time and had so much fun enjoying these hobbies that were neglected while I was training.

6.¬† Revel in your accomplishment.¬† When I was on the verge of tears last week because running was incredibly painful and I was afraid I would never run again I went back and re-read my race recap.¬† This helped me so much to appreciate how far I’ve come and how truly special the race was to me.

Anyone else ever suffered from the post-race blues?  Any tips you would add to my list?