Whether you run a PR or the marathon didn’t go the way you wanted, it’s important to be mindful of a potential mental dip in the weeks following the marathon.
When you spend a lot of time running whilst following a training plan, running becomes part of your identity. Therefore it’s natural that it will impact your self confidence due to a period of absence of running, post marathon.
Whilst it’s easy to plan your training schedule, it’s also advisable to think about how you will spend your time post marathon. Here are 10 tips that I’ve used post the Chicago Marathon to help stop the post marathon blues before they could start:
- Respect the recovery process, allow your body and mind a break to recover. I had two weeks off running post marathon;
- Goal setting can be beneficial and discouraging. It can be a good way to keep us moving, but it can be unhelpful if we are not fully in the present and are running from ourselves, almost as if the lack of focus will derail you. If you can’t be still then it’s a sign that your uncomfortable where you are. Spend some quiet time exploring why there is discomfort in not having a goal and just being;
- When you run a route you don’t always pay attention to the environment as your focusing on pace etc. Go and walk part of the running route as it gets you outside and to be mindful of aspects of the environment you may have missed;
- Catch up with things you may have neglected, and look at planning something fun with family or friends which isn’t running related. And a marathon abroad with holiday afterwards doesn’t count…Maybe plan a family holiday or something relaxing to look forward to.
- Get involved with sport in other ways, for example by helping out with your running club or volunteering with parkrun;
- Have some treats post race it’s good for the soul, but don’t overindulge;
- In your head you may think “I’ve still got it…” Don’t believe that voice, keep up light cross training, your body will thank you when you restart running;
- Whilst training there were many days I didn’t want to run and it wasn’t that enjoyable. So it’s important to spend time reconnecting to why you like running. After the recovery period have a set time, where you don’t run to a plan, and run when you want to. Leave the ego at the door and just run at an easy heart rate monitored pace;
- After the two weeks, firstly reflect on what went well and what you can learn from. Secondly speak to your coach and start reviewing your running goals, then discuss what races to enter based on your mid to long term goals;
- It’s easy to enter another marathon shortly afterward a disappointment, I’m guilty of this last year and early this year. My coach reminded me to, do what the pros do, to run a fast marathon, you need to run less marathons per year. Yes there are some exceptional athletes that seem to defy this rule, but for mere mortals too many marathons in a short period could result in injury or stagnation and slowing of your finishing time. So put your ego to one side and hide the credit card, don’t rush into entering another race until you’ve been able to reflect and gain perspective of how the race went and what you’ve achieved.