I ran Dublin marathon last weekend. Wow what a race. Brilliant experience!
I've run a few marathons, so know what to expect. Struggling with walking downstairs, either wanting to eat everything or not fancying anything in the fridge are perfectly normal.
But what people don't tell you, is how common it is to feel really flat and have post race blues. Last year I was lucky in that I flew out for my summer holiday a few days after my autumn marathon. But sitting on the plane, being offered 'red or white, chicken or beef' and heading into sunshine I still felt a little down. I'm convinced it's 'chemical', something going on with your brain chemistry that makes you feel slightly weepy. So let's accept we're going to feel down for a few days and plan some pick me ups.
1. Plan something ... anything!
You've just spent three or four months of your life training. Your life and all conversation has revolved around running and achieving your marathon goal. So post race you can feel a massive void in your life. You've time on your hands, but don't know what to do!
The week directly after marathon week you really need to be resting up and listening to your body. I have friends who head out the next day for a 'recovery run' and get back on their feet and training within days. It can be tempting, when you see them on Strava, to lace up your trainers too. But don't. Your body needs a good period of recovery before you get back out there. Test your legs later in the week, but nothing planned and nothing strenuous.
Instead plan to do something else with your time. Meet up with friends for coffee, drinks or dinner. Wear your medal with pride! Now is the time to catch up on all those things you put on hold when you were so busy training.
2. Treat yourself
You've learnt it! So book a massage, facial or gourmet meal. You're in the best shape of your life, so how about a new outfit for the season? Not many people in the world have run a marathon. You're special. So treat yourself. You deserve it!
3. Enter another race
If you're like me you're focused and goal oriented. So how about entering another race? You'll find that your marathon training will have made you faster at other distances too. So how about challenging your Half, 10k or Parkrun PBs?
After my last marathon I knocked 5 minutes off my 10k PB and a good minute of my Parkrun PB. It's amazing what marathon training does to your body. It really does tune you up for any distance.
4. Enjoy more sociable running
If you've trained for your marathon largely on your own, why don't you join your local running club. You'll be running with others, make new friends, and chances are there will be a few speedier runners around that'll push and challenge you to pick up your pace and improve.
We're heading into winter, so running in a club group really makes sense now it's getting cold and dark. For motivation as well as safety.
5.Celebrate your success!
Running a marathon is an amazing achievement. So well done you!
Be proud of your bling. Buy the pictures and put them on display. Bask in your new found fitness, glory and enjoy!
Tuning up your diet now, means you could be well on your way to losing any excess weight before the new year when retraining starts, and a new balanced healthy diet will set you up for marathon training success.
Sign up to Eat Right for Running to learn how to eat a balanced healthy diet for running success, to set up a great foundation for strong and powerful marathon training. Click here to find out more.