What Happens After a Marathon: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Hello,

A few days on and the penny has started to drop that I have run the London Marathon!

When you’re training there is so much going on but you have one goal at the end of it all to give you structure and clarity.  Now I’m without that goal and the after effects of running a marathon are many and varied, some good, some bad, and some downright ugly.

The Good

The Good after effects of running a marathon has undoubtedly been the messages that I have received from good friends, old friends, acquaintances and relative strangers.

To hear friends who don’t run say that they now feel inspired or would like to have a go is amazing.  Running for me is a hobby, but it is also a bit of a lifeline for when I feel overwhelmed and I love that my friends can share in this with me.

One particular message really took me surprise…

Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 11.25.08

To receive a message from someone whom I have admired so greatly and for so long totally stunned me.  However, every message has meant the world to me and I am so happy that running the marathon has allowed me access to one of the best spirited communities that there can be.

The Bad

I do have to be honest and say that I am seriously suffering from some Post Marathon Blues.  I had been building up to April 26th 2015 for such a long time that without that sense of anticipation I have felt a little flat.

It was a really surreal day but I had pinned so much onto it emotionally that I felt a little out of body after the marathon. I simply did not know what to feel.

The other part of Post Marathon Blues is the loss of a goal.  Throughout the marathon I was thinking that I would never do this again, but after it I thought I could if I had the right motivation or course.  However, the next day before the dust had even begun to settle I was googling courses and challenges.  I’ve started to eye up cycling challenges despite not owning a bike or having any proficiency on a bicycle – I don’t know if I can even really ride.

My mum calls this Pricked Balloon Syndrome.  When you’re getting increasingly excited for something (think Christmas) and when it’s over you just feel… deflated.

Like most emotionally negative aspects of marathon training I felt better when I discussed my feelings with another person who could identify with what I was going through and began to understand that these feelings were normal.

If anyone else is experiencing this I have found it really helpful to take a step back and reflect upon what I have done and put it into context, actively identifying what I have enjoyed and to mentally log the marathon in my mind.  It’s such a blur on the day that the excitement carries you.  This article from the Huffington Post explains it really well.

That being said I am on the verge of signing up for a half marathon or two… However this is a race length that I know how to train for and that I know I enjoy. Post marathon blues do happen and I think the best thing to do is just take your time.

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The Ugly

I have exceptionally unattractive feet and they’ve been getting worse during training.  However, they are relatively unscathed compared to the rest of me.  I decided to write about this in case anyone else is experiencing any of these post marathon symptoms and are concerned.  I promise you they are normal.

1. The backs of my knees

I ran the marathon in compression capris, ones that I practiced my long runs in and I knew I liked.  However, due to the sweat and friction of running a marathon I now have heat rashes at the back of my knees. They get worse when I wear trousers but they are raised, red and itchy.  I’ve been treating them with sudocrem.

I don’t especially want to put pictures of this on the internet, but if you’re having a similar problem then let me know.

2. Chesty Cough

Running for long periods of time seriously lowers your immune system and I have developed a nasty cough this week.  Both in training and around racing be aware of this and look after yourself properly.  It is impossible to be kind to your body and burn the candle at both ends.  If you’re going to run then you have to rest.

3. Sports Bra and Chafe Blisters

For reasons of decency I am not sharing these images on the internet, but it ain’t pretty.

If your armpits or  chest looks anything like mine then I swear by savlon.

The Verdict

Despite my rashy legs, blistered boobs, chesty cough and post marathon blues… I’d do it again in a heartbeat.  However, I will choose a course and cause for the right reasons rather than Post Marathon Blues.

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