finished my marathon… now what?
posted: December 2, 2009
Elyse takes on a journery and shares some best practices for when you have finished your marathon.
Rest, relax, recover and revel in your accomplishment! You have trained hard for the past four months, so it’s time to let your body repair. This is often hard for many runners, as a marathon brings not only peak physical fitness, but a phenomenon called “runner’s high,” which makes you feel so good after a run that you can’t wait to run again.
Along with all of these wonderful feelings, post-marathon can also bring about feelings of depression. A lululemon run club guest recently came to me a couple of weeks after her first marathon and told me that she was feeling depressed. She asked if it was crazy to feel that way. The answer? Not at all. Post-marathon depression is very real and is often accompanied by a sense of loss. You spend four months training, you structure much of your life around your training, you look forward to race day, and then in a matter of hours, it is done.
Rest is vital. Your body needs a few weeks to repair itself and recover before you begin your next training cycle.
a game plan
For me, I set out a post-marathon game plan. This season, my race is the Philadelphia Marathon. After the marathon, I am taking five weeks off from hard training to allow my body to repair and recover. Besides lululemon run club, I will not be running, but will be replacing my hard runs with yoga classes, core work, and strength training to let my body recover and to lay a foundation for my next training cycle. In terms of beating post-marathon blues, I always host and cook Thanksgiving dinner (this year for 14) to give me something immediate to look forward to and focus on once my fall racing season is over.
after you cross the finish line
Once you cross the finish line, start rehydrating immediately. Before your post-run celebration beer or wine, make sure you have had plenty of water — after all, that is what your body needs. Replenish yourself with some carbs and protein, stretch, and put on a layer of clothes over what you raced in for your walk back to the hotel to keep you warm.
the morning after
The morning after the race, jog 10-20 minutes to get your legs moving a little bit.
the next month
Following that, the next month should be about easing off of running to let your muscles repair. If you’re going to run, take it very, very easy, don’t race, and don’t do speed workouts. I recommend cross training. While I pick-up yoga (and cooking), try a racquet sport or something different that keeps you moving, but not training at full capacity. This will not only be good for your body, but you will start your next season feeling fresh and eager to be running again, and will help you keep your post-race emotions in check.
how you spend your post-marathon time
How you spend your month post-marathon is important. As runners, we are sometimes greedy about our fitness, and we want to stay in peak form all year round. This is impossible to do, and trying will often lead to injuries and feeling of burnout.
Are you just starting to run? Read Elyse’s other blog post about The Run Date!