Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Post Marathon Blues

This morning I did 11 miles on the spin bike in 35 minutes. It was my first real workout since the Rock and Roll Seattle marathon and I have to say that it felt really good to get back out there (in the hotel gym) and get the blood flowing. I was starting to get a bit antsy and really didn't want to fall victim to the "post race blues".

Call them what you want: Post Race Blues, Post Marathon Depression, Post Marathon Squirts, After Running Blahs. The reality is that post marathon blues are actually a pretty well documented phenomenon. You can read about them on a number of websites. Since all most of my non running free time has centered around baby preparations, I can't help but draw some similarities to postpartum depression. (Which of course is a very serious disease that should NOT be taken opposed to how I am going to treat it in this post)

Think about it: You have your shiny new bundle of joy (race medal), you force all of your relatives to stare at dozens of pictures of you all sweaty and red in the face, you're sore in all sorts of places that you never thought could be sore, and you plant the placenta underneath a brand new tree in the front yard. (Ok, maybe some things REALLY only apply to one vs the other.)

Either way, after a big event like childbirth or a marathon, there can be a bit of a let down. I've found that soon I grow tired of wearing my race medal while I'm sitting on the toilet and taking care of baby becomes sooo "last week".

Fortunately, I haven't fallen victim to the blahs after this race - YET. I have in the past and let me tell you it takes weeks to get back into a good flow. While I am not a doctor**, I've found that a sure fire way to avoid the blahs is to set a new running goal. It doesn't need to be a race. Your goal could be as simple as running 100 miles in a month or beating a new track speed goal (e.g. 4x800 @ 8:00 pace). For me, that goal is the sub 19:00 5K.

The real "trick" I've found is that you HAVE to have a plan. When avoiding the blues, it is best to throw away the Ben and Jerrys leave nothing to chance and force yourself to not be "on plan". When you go to bed at night, you should know what is on tap for tomorrow - and more importantly if you were on track for that day. It honestly doesn't have to be anything fancy just something written down on post-its is fine. Just make sure to write it down.

So, on to my goal: Admittedly, I'm a little (a lot) frustrated that I am not going to be able to run my preferred 5Ks because of travel. I know that I'll find something to run - and quite honestly I'll run some "time trial" type runs on my own if I have to. Anything to get the competitive spirit alive and keep my head out of the Ben and Jerry's. Because honestly, that is half the reason that I run as much as I NOT feel guilty about having a bit of Cherry Garcia.

What are everyone's tips to avoid the post marathon blues?

**But I do drink a boatload of Dr Pepper


Emz said...

wish I would have known to throw away the Ben and Jerrys before I ATE the whole [ok, half, but seriously...1/2? that's so stupid] freaking pint of chubby hubby last night.

And thanks for NOT being tom cruise on the PPD thing. Next thing you know you'll be jumping on couches eating cherry garcia.

Rad Runner said...

You are a freaking machine dude a machine already on the spin bike? thats a double high 5 well a high 10 I guess..

Look at that already slippin in to parental mode-blues clues pictures and all. It's Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaail Time!

EricaH said...

For me the fact that I am content with never running a marathon does a great job of keeping the post marathon blues away.

As for my 1/2 marathon I planned for it for four months before I actually ran it and made "what's next" plans the week of my 1/2 so I wouldn't have that it's over what now :( feeling.

ShutUpandRun said...

I can't wait until you're on the toilet and decide your real baby is "so yesterday!" Nice analogy with the medal and the baby. I used to wear my baby around my neck until he was getting rubber neck from not having his head supported.

Heck yeah we are meeting up at the RnR Denver so you'd better not back out. I won't let you.

Her Name is Rio said...

How did I deal with my post marathon blues last year? I signed up for 3 marathons this year (when I was originally going to only run 1) and have already starting booking in 2011.
I may need some professional help.

64 CLASSIC said...

Great post. Post race blues, I don't need to give you advice... you've got it figured out. Get back on the horse, or at least get the next one lined up. You've got that going. The baby-medal thing--loved it!!

Jill said...

Been down the post-marathon blues a time or 10 before and I honestly think that's part of my problem right now....I have some goals but my crappy heel is interferring and therefore the Ben and Jerry's tastes that much better!! Great job getting back out there on that bike today!

Jamoosh said...

Food and beer.

Angie Bishop said...

I agree completely with having a goal to start on right after. Just keep moving forward keeps one from getting stuck. I still fill the blues a bit but able to run it out with the new goal.
So excited for your baby coming!!

RunningLaur said...

Yeah, don't listen to me, bc my way of dealing was to run a 50k just days later. No, it was awesome, you should listen to that.

How about some hill training with this? I'd consider it for sure:

Psyche said...

Funny as ever! Love the PPD tie in, as I'm sure your wife does:)

You are so on target with the "plan the next thing" plan. Doesn't matter what it is for me, 5K or 77 Miler, just has to make me feel inspired.

Colin Hayes said...

I'm not sure I can bring anything enlightening to the table, since I'm currently suffering from post-marathon-post-injury-post-overeating-pre-Ragnar-relay blues.
But having another goal on the table is the key, I think. As long as there's still room on the table for ice cream.

Chris Korn said...

Well, one way to mitigate the post marathon blues is to declare to the world your goal on a popular running blog. You're good.

Cynthia O'H said...

Setting a new goal works for me - but I also need a plan (which, of course, can change) to help achieve that goal. Otherwise, it becomes another race done, not achieved.

You're right, though, it is like PPD. After childbirth, moms need to plan and move forward. Otherwise, it can become a case of "What should I do now?". Interesting analogy.

Glenn Jones said...

"Plan the work and work the plan." Is that still used in the hallways?

sRod said...

Best cure for me is another race on the calendar. Down time completely destroys me.