It’s done, I’ve done all the training, raised the some money for a good cause, and ran the race. It’s all done. Whether you are happy with how you did (or not), it’s all boiled down to that day, and now it is over. Here are some thoughts for those coming to terms with the post-marathon phase, and what you might expect.
1. Over analysing
I felt that there were things I would have liked to have done different on race day, and perhaps training, so with all my free time (now that I am not running 30-40 miles per week), I’ve been over analysing 🤔… everything to do with the marathon. I’m just about past the phase now, as I’m getting bored with my own thoughts, and I’m moving on to thinking about new things.
I think even if you had a great race, your probably still thinking about the race, your training, your choices, and wondering if they could make more of a difference. It’s probably healthy to allow yourself this self indulgence – go on analyse as much as you can stand. The marathon was part of your life, for at least 4 months on training, and now it is gone, allow yourself the time to process it (and over-analyse if you wish).
2. The pain
I was surprised to feel so sore after the marathon. I ran two 20 mile runs in training, and didn’t have any DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness – or achy muscles if you like). However, after the marathon, it was a different story almost instantly, so maybe for me it should be called IOMS (Instant Onset Muscle Soreness, less catchy though?!). Basically the only way I can describe it, is that my quads changed from lean fillet steak to cheap mince meat – unable to function correctly, buckling under my weight, cause intense fear at the sight of stairs 😧.
I quickly figured out that a going down the stairs backwards, or even on my bum for the first day was the way forward. I kept walking as much as possible, and by Wednesday, I was mostly back to normal (the marathon was on Sunday), and Thursday I felt right as rain.
Even if you don’t have any DOMS, your body is still recovering. A girl who I follow on instagram smashed her sub-4 goal, and was super chuffed to have very little muscle soreness, but then a day later she was hit with the biggest cold sore of her life. So, even those waltzing around after a big run, as still recovering physically, whether you can see it or not.
3. Not running
So, I’ve not run since the marathon. At first I couldn’t run (physically impossible with my mince meat quads) and now I can’t run, as I have both my boys (my husband is away for a week at a wedding). I think the break is supposed to be good for you, but I’m itching to get out there, and see what it feels like again. All this Easter chocolate 🍫 and no-running is also stressing me out a little bit too. If anyone lives close to me and can have my boys for 20-30 minutes, I would be immensely grateful for the opportunity.
4. Hasty decisions
After the race was over, my mind was racing to fill the void, and book another marathon, to give me another shot at the big 26.2, as soon as I could without pissing off my family too much. In the end, with a family wedding in late October, I couldn’t really make a fall marathon work for our family schedule.
I decided to go into the London Marathon Ballot (as always, so maybe 6th time lucky? 🤞), and then book some smaller things the rest of this year. If I don’t get London, there will be a spring marathon I can book later this year. I went to bed last night and had another quick race search and quickly booked 3 races, and now and feeling so much more calm and happy to have a plan.
3rd July – Hard as Snails – I’ve booked the 2K for Ellis and the 10K for me, looks like a fun hilly trail run, and it’s a mid-week race, which will be exciting for Ellis and something different, plus he’s very excited about the snail shaped medal 🐌
15th September – Richmond RunFest Half – I’ve done this before and got my half marathon PB, so I’ll hope to be tackling the distance for another PB 🏅
13th October – Cabbage Patch 10 mile – I was so happy to hear that this race is on again, as many of us thought last year, might be the last one, so I felt compelled to book it up, before it sold out, plus I’m doing it with a friend for the second year running!
You gained a medal, but you lost your marathon
So I think, on reflection, the time after a marathon is a kind of mourning for something that you have lost. Those of you have have run loads of marathons might think I’m mad, but I sectioned off a corner of my very busy little life to shoehorn in this event, and now it’s over. I’m sure that there will be more in the future, but for now it’s all about adjusting to life without the marathon and focusing on recovery, how not to eat too much, and what/how much to run.
Have you recently run a first marathon? How did you find the post marathon period? Do you have any advice for me?