Post-Marathon Recovery

We’re almost one month post-NYC Marathon and I’m finally feeling fantastic again!

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It’s funny: when you work for months towards a goal, it’s only natural to fall into a rut when that goal is accomplished and there’s no more pot of gold to chase at the end of the rainbow.

… or so I’ve been told…

Leading up to the race, many people warned me about the Post-Marathon Blues. Those who ran those 26.2 miles before me told me I’d sink into a malaise once I had that medal around my neck. After the highs and lows of marathon training, day-in and day-out for months, not having that schedule or goal would cause me to feel lost and without purpose.

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Yeah…  I’m still not feeling those blues.

Maybe it makes me a traitor to my runner tribe, but in the nearly four weeks since I earned that medal, I have felt nothing but pride, contentment, and most of all, relief!

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Relief over no longer having to run mile after mile after mile every single day of the week. Relief over finally having my nights and weekends back. Relief over being able to do anything other than collapsing into a sweaty heap post-run every night.

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After sticking to a plan for months on end, it’s been supremely fun not having a plan. I had a big ol’ cheeseburger and fries for the first time in months. I stayed up late on Saturdays and slept in on Sundays. I cooked. I cleaned. I finally did all the laundry – and now that most of it isn’t workout clothes, there was so much less of it! I caught up with friends. I had wine. SO much wine. It’s been glorious.

But it hasn’t been all lounging around and bon-bons, mind you. I’ve still been working out – although I will admit to taking a full 10 days off post-marathon because my body was HURTING.

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For real: the pain I felt after the marathon was intense, but in the days following, I found new spots that hurt in new and unexpected ways, and I wasn’t about to push myself. For example, I held my phone through the entire race to be able to take photos and videos. I switched hands many many times, and never went full-on claw mode, but the Monday morning after the race, I tried pushing myself out of bed and felt like I had a red hot poker in my forearm: I pulled an ARM MUSCLE running a MARATHON.

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That took about 2 weeks to feel better. Then, the day after the marathon when I leaned over the couch to close a window, I slipped on the blanket that had pooled on the floor at my feet and severely pulled a muscle in my left knee. I still feel that one here and there and I’m afraid of investigating any further but I’ve run and lifted and done all kinds of things in the 25 days since so I’m sure it’s nothing permanent but still

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Oh and then there’s the numbness on the side of my right foot. I discovered that on Monday morning, post-marathon. Apparently all the miles of walking I did after the race on super-swollen feet in super-tight shoes did some nerve damage! That has been slowly but surely dissipating, and finally felt good enough to run on – I kid you not – about 3 full weeks post-marathon.

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So when I was able to move around like a normal human being I started working out again on my own schedule, and I loved it. I focused more on strength training, and full disclosure: I’ve run less than 20 miles post-marathon. And when I did, I didn’t even wear my watch. It was a struggle. My body just didn’t want to move like it used to. Running felt unnatural, and I felt discouraged. But I reminded myself that I had just run TWENTY SIX MILES a few weeks earlier, and I couldn’t force it.

So I moved when I wanted to and finally went out to the trails this weekend for a 5K… and finally the miles felt easy again. My legs turned over like they wanted to, the sun was shining, my lungs were pumping, and I found my running mojo again.

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So now that I’m pretty much recovered, I’m looking to the horizon for what’s next! I don’t know if another full marathon is in my future – I won’t say never, but that was a lot of work and I’m still glowing in the success of this one! Instead of another full next year, I’m looking to something more attainable: a new Half Marathon PR in the spring!

How about you: have you ever experienced the post-race blues? What’s your most random non-running-related running injury? What big goals are you training for next?

10 thoughts on “Post-Marathon Recovery

  1. I know I said it on IG, but congratulations again! Running a marathon is an amazing thing in general – but as someone who has also lost quite a lot of weight and never even contemplated a marathon as a possibility, it is wonderful to look back and think “I did this!”

    Guess what – YOU DID THIS!

    After I ran my first marathon, I had one concern – that I would ‘lose my mojo’ and not keep running. Sure I had been running for 23 years at that point, but after my thyroid crashed and I had (re) gained a bunch of weight … it was like starting over that year, and I was afraid once I got past that I would lose the drive.

    So I ran the marathon (which was in October) … then in November I ran a half marathon … then a week or so later I got an early start on the Runner’s World Streak – which was meant to be ‘run at least 1 mile per day between Thanksgiving and New Years’. Only I started the second week in November and kept it going for 65 days, doing an average of 7.5 miles per day. During that time we had deep sub-zero temps and all kinds of conditions that challenged me … but still I persevered.

    So … great job on the marathon, look forward to that spring PR – and keep it all up! 🙂

  2. I had major post-race blues twice last year, after both double race weekends. I always find something else to go for.

    As for my next goal: RUNAPALOOZA 13.1! My first half! Feeling just about everything right now!

  3. Congrats on compIeting your first marathon. I have only been running about 3 years & never ran more than a 10k. But completing each race filled me with self worth. My next goal is to complete my first half in 2018.

  4. I don’t suffer from post-race blues so much as post-race lack of motivation. Once I achieve a goal I go into total slacker mode, it’s bad! I’m glad you’re feeling better and have your running mojo back 🙂

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