My brain always goes back and forth between two different things once I finish a big goal race:
“OH MY GOSH, MUST DO SOMETHING ELSE NOW! Half-marathon PR? Ultra? Another 26.2 in two weeks? Gimme something BIG!”
“I don’t want to anything! I’ve earned it! Let’s take 6 rest days a week and on the other day run slow for 2 miles! Summer vacation! Hooray!”
I’m sure you can guess which of these is more prevalent than the other…but for the most part, these are the two extremes I’m vacillating between.
It always happens, and I’ve finally figured out why.
I am currently both: a) directionless, and b) burnt out.
I’ve been focusing on one singular goal for 4-5 months. It’s been getting me up in the morning when I wanted to sleep, it’s given me intention and purpose in my gut-busting workouts, and it’s kept me excited to put all my hard work to the test. Frankly, I love having a big race/goal on the horizon, which is why more often than not I have a BIG goal on the drawing board.
At the same time, however, our bodies and brains can only handle so much focus. The thought of jumping into any kind of training anytime soon sounds incredibly unappealing. It makes me shudder a little bit to think of abiding by the governing powers of a training schedule at the very least for another month.
So as you can see, there is a bit of a conflict of interest between my two mindsets right now. I want to respect the fact that I’ve given a lot to training during these past few months and give myself a break. The marathon distance, as well, beats you to a pulp, and I know that while I may feel completely recovered—I’m far from it.
So there’s that. But there’s also the case of “post marathon blues” that some of you may have heard of or experienced yourself. I am certainly susceptible to these feelings, and I already can feel them taking form. Essentially, post-marathon blues are what’s leftover once the glitz and glamour of the race are over. I wouldn’t say that I’m completely done reveling in my BQ state—but I definitely feel a little loss now that my training’s over.
I really enjoy the journey of a big goal. I love the prospect of trying to make my far-fetched dreams into a reality, and it makes the process of running day after day so much more enjoyable to know that there’s this sparkly potential for greatness out there.
So while training can get overwhelming and mundane at some points, I am almost always a little sad to have my training come to an end, even when the final race result is satisfactory.
If I’m being honest, I think part of this feeling is that the Eugene end wasn’t 100% satisfactory. I know I have more in me, I know there’s more potential out there. And while I definitely don’t have the energy nor the desire the jump into anything for a while, the fire is definitely there.
So where does that leave me? Well, somewhere in the middle of the previously mentioned extremes, I suppose.
I do love knowing that running offers so many options. Running fast, slow, long, short, trail, road, inside, etc…there’s plenty to choose from. And while I don’t feel ready mentally or physically to make my next choice just yet, I’m excited at the prospect of something new being out there.
In a lot of ways, I still feel very new to this sport, and I love that. I know I’ll figure out someday what my limitations are, but for now…I’m choosing to believe/hope that there are a lot more glass ceilings to break through.
Do you experience the same type of post-marathon blues, or do you kick up your feet and lounge for a while?
I was so devastated after Eugene last year. If I hadn’t have been injured I probably would have found another marathon to run within a couple of weeks. Instead I took 7 days, ran a PR at Bloomsday, took another 6 days off and I hobbled my way through a half marathon. After that I finally found out what had been wrong with me since December so I had to hang up the running shoes for about 4 months.
Right now I am already thinking of a plan and I still haven’t had my race yet. No major goals or races in mind. I just want to have FUN with running again. I plan on doing some half marathons here and there and then of course S2S. 🙂