The Post-Marathon Blues

Just three days after the greatest experience ever, I’m already starting to come down from my high and feel a little sad.

I spent five months training for the Hamptons Marathon. That’s five months — the majority of 2011 thus far — devoting every single aspect of my life to having the best race possible.

The marathon was everything I had hoped it would be. I loved all the training leading up to it and of course loved working with Coach Cane.

Coach Cane, please never stop being a part of my life. Even when you and your wife have your cute little baby...please still let me hang around. I need your knowledge.

The rush I got at the start line (yes, I cried at the start line, but not at the finish — go figure) was like nothing I had ever felt before. When I crossed the start, my first thought was, “OK, this is it. You’re running a marathon. Enjoy the next four (plus) hours.”

I did enjoy those hours. Most of them, at least.

I certainly wasn’t my best right around mile 22.5.

Here I am running. Here I am dying.

That finish line feeling, though? It was pretty incredible, just like everyone said it would be.

Ready to pounce on the finish line. Ka-POW!

The entire weekend was perfect. The marathon, the family time, the wine, the brunch. I wouldn’t change a thing.

Yesterday, too. I was riding my marathon high hard.

My coworkers all came rushing over to my desk first thing to congratulate me and ask how it went (no, I didn’t wear my medal to work) and I was showered with wonderfully supportive emails, comments, and all that jazz all day long.

What a feeling! You know, like Flashdance.

But when 4 pm rolled around, I got sad.

Normally, on Mondays at 4 pm, I would log onto the City Coach website to check my training plan for the week.

Yesterday, there was no new plan for me.

I secretly wished that Coach Cane would have given me something — anything — for the post-marathon week.

But I’m on my own now. It’s up to me to plan my weekly workouts.

So now what?

I went to the gym after work yesterday for a major dose of foam rolling and a spinning class. My legs were tight going into the class but they felt surprisingly good during and after the workout. Goodbye, lactic acid buildup! Thanks for stopping by, though.

I sweat a lot and had a solid workout. The class was fun and the music was great. Also, the instructor has new bangs and they look cute. So, added bonus? Or something?

I felt like there wasn’t a purpose to my sweat session, though. I’m no longer training for a marathon, and that sucks.

I loved marathon training. I loved the speed workouts, which were always challenging and I loved the long runs, which were so rewarding. I loved running alone and I loved running with friends.

High 5 for buddy running!

I emailed Coach Cane and he told me that it’s normal to experience a letdown like this, especially after your first marathon. There’s so much buildup and then, boom, in 4 hours and 13 minutes, it’s all over.

This morning, hoping to shake my little funk, I went to my happy place: Central Park. I wanted to see how I’d do with a short run, and I survived OK!

My pace was slow, but I ran into Kelly as soon as I entered the park and she joined me for a few leisurely miles around the Bridle Path. We chatted about the race and about her super-busy life, and I was feeling happy again. I covered five miles and felt good.

After we parted ways, I stopped to get water and watched dozens of runners fly by. I got the feeling that everyone out in Central Park was training for something — the New York City Marathon, perhaps? Maybe Marine Corps? Or Chicago?

I’m sad that I’m not part of “that group” anymore.

Part of me thinks it’ll be nice to take some time away from training, to get back into the gym and to run for fun for a while.

But truthfully, that’s not my style.

I’m a competitive little bitch, and I’m entirely goal-oriented.

Yesterday, I gave a dear friend a task: Find me a spring marathon.

I like training. I like having a purpose every single time I exercise. So it’s on, marathon. I’m going to find a second one, I’m going to enter the training world again and you’re damn right I’m going to look 4 hours in the face and crush it.

And although I may not be in the “marathon training club” right now, there is another cool endurance club I’m part of: The Marathon Club.

Jazz hands at the finish line. It wasn't even intentional, I swear.

Thanks for having me.

I’M CURIOUS: Have you ever felt a letdown after accomplishing a huge goal? Whether it was a race or another life achievement, did you feel pumped about it afterward, or were you sad it was over?



0 Responses

  1. I ran my first half marathon last Saturday, and I’ve had a bit of a confusing week wondering what I’m supposed to do now. I signed up for two more (Nov 20 and Feb 12), but I took the week off except a 3 mile run. And I don’t even know if that’s right. It was a bit of a let down after I realized that the medal that I worked my tail off for months couldn’t be worn everyday, and it’s sad to me that it’s just sitting there looking at me as a reminder. I am jumping back on a training plan tomorrow, but for now, I know exactly what you mean about feeling a bit “eh” after a big event.

    And I just found your blog today, and I’m so glad that I did. 🙂

  2. Ali-

    I see you’re a Team Challenge Alum! I ran the Napa to Sonoma half this July and JUST completed my first marathon on Sunday-the Maine marathon in 4:00:50. It was the most amazing experience, but I am seriously in a post-marathon emotional turmoil now. So….I understand. I am thinking of a spring marathon to try for a Boston time-just need to lose 15 minutes!

    Congrats on your first marathon and know you have a fellow first timer feeling just like you do, just a bit north of you 🙂

  3. I didn’t have time to get post-marathon blues after my first marathon in March. The day after the marathon, my boyfriend proposed. I guess that’s a good way to avoid the blues.

    Congrats on completing your first!

  4. Once again, congrats on the marathon! I definitely know that post-race blues feeling… which is why I already have my next challenge lined up and ready for me after the Chicago marathon next weekend. 🙂

  5. Yep, after I got into medical school, I was, of course, thrilled, but then I was like “wait, what is my life supposed to revolve around now?” I got really into learning French, I think partially because I needed to channel all that academic gusto I had built up through stressing over grades, studying for MCAT, etc. I was pretty lost for a bit!

    For the marathons I’ve run, its always been a little bit of “omg its over,” but with my most recent one, NJ in May, I knew I had NYC on the horizon so I very much was looking forward to a break and going back to a “social running only schedule.” I think that to avoid such a let down after NYC, I need to make a new goal. Hmmmm….what should it be?! A half in the winter?

  6. I always, always have a major case of post-race blues; have never been able to avoid it. In fact, I start to get them pre-race once deep in the taper and training is ending. For me the training is what I really really love, I think you’ve felt the same. It’s challenging but fun, a commitment that you’ll def see through and there’s such a sense of accomplishment. The race is great too for the experience but sometimes we don’t have the day we wanted for any number of reasons and it feels disappointing. Don’t worry this is all NORMAL, just like sweating so much it jumps off you and on your running partners. 🙂 Find small ways every day to make you happy, soon enough you’ll be training for your next adventure.

  7. Congratulations on your accomplishment!! You should milk it for all it is worth, it is a big deal to run 26.2 miles… Very few people can say they have done it and you’re one of the people that can now say they have… I am certain your next marathon you will go sub 4hrs


  8. Yes!! When I finished my first half-marathon (to prepare for a full marathon), I was on a cloud for the next two days… but then, >>bam<< my training runs began to seem a lot less exciting. I think the thrill of running in a race made my solo training efforts seem boring and uninteresting. To move past it, I've had to change up running locations, playlists, and play around with training times. I actually blogged about this a few weeks ago (as my halfer wasn't *that* long ago).

  9. I think it’s totally normal to feel a little blue after the marathon, you worked your buns off for weeks, and then, 1/2 a day later it’s over. Kind of like Christmas – you wait all year, and then, it’s done and it’s a new year. But, you have so much awesome stuff going on right now with the new apartment, new boyfriend and trip coming up – that hopefully you’ll shake the funk off soon. And a spring marathon sounds like an awesome goal!

  10. Hi Ali! I agree with Kelly. The best way to get over the blues is to put more races on your calendar. That always works for me. I can understand why you are feeling blue. Your first marathon journey was an amazing experience. I’ve really enjoyed reading all of your blog posts documenting this journey. I look forward to reading your blog every morning while having breakfast. Also, because of you I’ve learned to love and appreciate running on the bridal path more often. It’s changing things up for my running routine.

  11. Don’t have the blues! Your marathon was so inspirational… It’s like the race that keeps on giving since you’re motivating so many people 🙂

    I had an 8 miler scheduled for the weekend and I was just SO NOT feeling it. But I MADE myself get out and do it yesterday after I read your recap. You worked so hard to get across that finish line…the least I could do was run 8 miles! Thanks for the virtual “just do it!”

  12. Always! I work in theatre and every single time a show closes (unless I really hated the project which almost never happens) I feel let down and sad. You put everything you have into a project and then it’s over. It’s hard. I felt the same way after my wedding, and after my birthday and after Christmas. I get so excited for things (which I think is a good thing) and then when they’re over, I miss the excited feeling. For me, it’s one of the best parts!

  13. I totally know that feeling. Right now I’m training for my first half in October, but after that I have no idea what I’ll do during winter. I want to race, but there aren’t many races in January.

  14. I felt identically when I graduated from my undergrad degree. I know that I’m going back to do graduate work next year, just like you know there will be other marathons. It’s like losing a friend when something you devoted so much time and effort to is over and done.

    I research anyway, despite that I’m not in school right now. You can train anyway, even though you don’t yet know what you’re training for. You know you’re training for the next finish line, whenever or wherever that may be.

    I wept tremendously reading your marathon posts. It must have been so wonderful not only to achieve what you did, but to have loved ones and family around as you did. Congratulations on everything, and good luck finding your next marathon, one goal-oriented person to another. 🙂

  15. SO GLAD we ran into each other!! I missed you! Totally think the post-marathon blues are normal. Definitely the best way to get over them is to plan new races! Also, catching up on life things that eluded you during marathon training can be fun. But mostly planning new races 🙂

  16. Suggestions to do with time not spent marathon training:
    1. obsessively stalk lululemon’s “we made too much” sale page on the website. you can score some sweet deals on there.
    2. Sign up for the NJ marathon in May!!!!
    3. Bake chocolate chip cookies. Then eat them all. Or eat none of them because you ate all of the dough and are now in a coma, which is my usual style.
    4. sign up for an ULTRAMARATHON!

  17. Absolutely! In fact, I was just telling my English students (sophomores) about this very feeling the other day as we were reading The Great Gatsby (sorry in advance for my English nerdisms).

    I told them that I had waited and worked so long to accomplish the goal of running a marathon that after it was over, I kind of felt like Christmas had just ended and I didn’t get the one toy I wanted. While I’d never regret doing the marathon at all, I knew as soon as it was finished that I wanted to do another so that I could improve my performance and enjoy myself more.

    Well that, and to eat cookies and pizza at my leisure again!

  18. My first marathon is now less than 3 weeks away, I’m sure I have a similar let down feeling for a few days. But rather than sign up for another marathon I already have a 5k and a half in the month following the marathon to get me through it. Glad you are going to conquer another 26.2!

  19. After doing my marathons, I still haven’t figured out what my next big goal is! Don’t look for it to be the same feeling as before, but I definitely think you have a lot more greatness still in you 🙂 (And let me know if you want any tips on great spring marathons).

  20. Congrats on the marathon finish! I came across your blog when looking for inspiration during my training this summer. I spent my summer at an internship in a new city and trained for my first half marathon. The race was two weeks ago and I loved every second of it! But for the past week I’ve felt the exact same way — I thought I missed the gym and strength training, but now all I want to do is run. I am totally looking for another half in the spring — loved your DC half recap, so I might just have to sign up!

  21. I’ve only ran a half marathon (my first was in June). I didn’t have time to feel let down because Summer Ultimate Frisbee started the following week, with games and a 3 day tournament the next weekend.

    As for a spring marathon the National Marathon is now a Rock ‘n Roll event. I’m running the half, but you and sweaty emily should run the full!

  22. Congrats on your first marathon and your post-marathon blues. It is an unfortunate part of the training cycle. I’ve run four marathons and it has happened every.single.time. Boo! Give it a week. Let yourself enjoy sleeping in and being lazy and then get back on the horse next week. Then, sign yourself up for a short, fast race around Thanksgiving. I’m training for Chicago and with all of my down time during this taper period I’m struggling with what’s next. Again, big huge congratulations on your race and your fundraising!

  23. Happens to me after every race….I just a half ironman but I was smart enough this time to sign up for a half marathon a few months later so I could take so e ti e off and now I have a plan to follow again

    Can we buy I love sweat shirts still?

  24. I know the feeling (just on a much smaller level). I ran my first 10k on Sunday and immediately signed up for two more races, a 5k and a half marathon (yikes!).

    Pittsburgh Marathon is on May 6th and Cleveland Marathon is on May 20th (both in spring and easy to get to from NYC!!). They are both really great because they are both downtown and you get to run through so much of the cities!

  25. The Big Sur marathon up the west coast from Monterrey to Carmel is the most gorgeous spring marathon on the planet! I believe it is full, but there are still ways to get in 🙂

  26. I have definitely felt that way Allie—sometimes after holidays, or vacations, or my half-marathons (no full yet). 🙂 I’m sure it is really typical. When something has so much build-up and then it’s over, you do just get sad! But life will return to normal soon and you’ll get super excited for your next race! Goal setting/planning something to look forward to to is always fun. You do have your vacay to look forward to right now! 🙂 Time with your family and man is always good!

  27. I think that’s why we have to just keep setting goals, whether it be another marathon, an ultra, etc. Having something to work for usually makes it seem more worthwhile. I have been thinking that I am going to feel sad after my husband and I run our first half marathon because (for a little while anyway) we won’t really have much to train for. I’m thinking that we will join the “marathon training club” next year though!

  28. I totally and completely feel you on this! I’m still in that funk, and it’s been a fight to get out of it. I just made a new training plan for a half marathon at the end of November to hopefully and finally pull me out. I also have a marathon in mind for next April…and like you, I’d love to sub 4 hours!!! You should definitely come to Kansas and run it with me…I promise no hills!!!

  29. Yes! I definitely feel the same way. I ran my first Ironman 70.3 this weekend and after 5 months of training I don’t really know what to do with myself. It’s so strange.

  30. Two days after finishing NY in ’09, I signed up for the lottery again- I think that’s normal!! 🙂 Nashville’s a spring marathon, Ali (I’ve run the half down there a bunch of times), but word of caution- it’s a crazy hilly course (though very fun, too!)

  31. I’m currently going through the SAME exact thing. I’m 90% certain I’ve already picked a spring (DC!!) and fall (Columbus) marathon for next year because I hate the feeling of not having something “big” waiting around the corner.

    That said, after my first, I know I was a bit more banged up than I realized, so definitely take your time easing back into things! Maybe an awesome half marathon late October would help?

  32. Yes! I did my first half a few weeks ago and definitely had a bit of a letdown when it was done. It went away after a week or so – and now I am loving running just for fun!

    By the way, I just came over to your blog after Theodora posted your marathon recap, and I definitely cried reading it. Amazing.

  33. you are amazing for wanting to run another right away!

    … it took me almost 2 years to want to do another marathon…

    i completely understand with wanting to have races on the calendar – it’s the best motivation!

  34. I feel like with anything.. be it fitness related or not.. there is never full satisfaction.. you always want more. I think its human and normal. I don’t race too often .. but I already started thinking about what my life is going to be like after my half when I won’t spend almost two hours running every Saturday. It will be sad.
    Running marathons in now in your blood! 🙂 I am sure you will have theb ug for many years to come.

  35. oh man, I have been there on this as well. It sounds like a lot of people have this same experience. so don’t beat yourself up about it like I did. Afteer all that hard work, your body needs a break and a rest, and you deserve it!

    But a spring time marathon will certainly cure everything! Which race are you going to pick? Since you are a charity all-star fundraiser you could always get into Boston via a charity….just an idea.

  36. Like a couple of above commenters, I’m a performer, and I totally get the post-opening blues BIG TIME. Actually, that was one of the reasons I got into running: so I could have a goal to work towards that was completely non-music related! And now you’re telling me that I’m going to get the post-race blues too??? 🙂

  37. Vermont City in Burlington is May 27th! Supposed to be a gorgeous course – I’m planning for that to be my second ever marathon 🙂

  38. I felt the exact same way this past may after my first marathon. EXACTLY the same way. It took a few days and even some tears to shake off. I knew I really wanted to sign up for another race, but waited a bit until I was a little more rational and less emotional. 🙂

  39. That’s totally normal! I remember how sad I was after my first marathon with Team for Kids. Not only had I devoted a good portion of my five months to accomplishing that marathon goal, I had done it with a group of people I became close with and we trained together and hung out together. The race was sort of like graduation. I was sad that the marathon was over and although I still keep in touch with some of the people it is similar in that after college graduation it is just not like it was in college. I think that is part of the reason I signed up for a marathon that took place a month later and joined a club right away….

  40. I definitely feel that way after accomplishing a goal (and after my wedding – happy to be married, sad planning the wedding was over)… I think it’s totally normal and I’m like you – I usually start thinking of something new to work toward. Enjoy this week and give your body a little break – you pushed it hard! Can’t wait to hear what marathon you choose! This one is on my dream list: March 6…it’s a marathon…in Napa! 🙂 Best of both worlds!

  41. I know exactly what you are feeling: I trained for 9 weeks for the Bronx Half and then… Irene came, race got canceled and I felt lost. Such a bummer because it would have been my first half marathon, it would have been in my borough and my husband was also running it. I was in such a funk… but then, with the NYRR cancelation rain check, we signed up for the Staten Island Half (October 9th!).

    So, how do we avoid that funk again? Two-fold plan:

    Plan A:
    Every holiday there is a FREE Cross Country Marathon/ Half/ 10K/ 5K at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. Here are the upcoming races:
    Halloween – Sunday October 30th
    Thanksgiving – Thursday november 24th
    Christmas – Sunday December 25th

    Plan B: Join a Track Club. In our case it’ll be the Van Cortlandt Track Club since it’s in our “backyard”.

    Need a Plan C to get our of that funk? Read this ->

  42. A spring marathon! You love this a lot. I can’t imagine going through all this training again so soon. I kind of want my regular life back. Also, very impressed with your two workouts including one run so soon after the marathon. My legs will want to rest I am sure of it. I did 5 this morning too!

    Also, I am sure you can find some good halfs coming up. Manhattan’s in January!

    I know that letdown feeling well. You plan and you plan and then it’s over, just like that. Been through that a few times myself. But always worth it!

  43. After I finished my first marathon I was sad it was over but happy that I had more freedom with my workouts. I was a little burnt out on running and took a break then came back stronger than ever in the spring. I always love looking up fun marathons to run- can’t wait to see what one you pick!

  44. The post-marathon blues are totally normal, you put all this time and effort and drive into one big day…and then afterwards you’re left with a feeling of…’now what’? A spring marathon is what! I wish Big Sur was still open so you could fly out to CA with me and run along the coast…not a fast course, but a fun one. I can’t wait to hear about your spring race, and hit the bridle (and drink wine) with you soon.

  45. You wanna have a pity-party together? I am absolutely feeling the same way right now. I trained all summer for my first 70.3 and completed it on Sunday. It was hard, it was awesome and I learned so much. But now what? I even signed up for a marathon in January, hoping that would make me feel better to jump into training for something else, but I am still feeling sad. I knew this would happen because it happens to me every time. The good news? It doesn’t usually last long! And having fun doing things you wouldn’t have been able to do during training helps alot!

  46. I definitely understand the marathon blues…after my first one about 4 years ago or so I got so sad I signed up for another one and ran it two months later. Ah, the addiction of running.

  47. Oh the post marathon blues, just like the post wedding blues for girls that spend months planning their wedding and suddenly it’s over. Is there anything non athletic related you can busy yourself with for a couple weeks? It’s important to take it easy post marathon, you can run just not hard or a lot so the minimal running with no real goal for several months simply won’t fill the void. What about your friend that’s getting married? Could you take on some projects to help her?

  48. I think it’s always a little bittersweet after something you’ve been working for and dedicating your time/energy/life to for many months is finally and suddenly over. But it’s a good kick in the pants to reflect and prioritize.. I personally wouldn’t advise rush into choosing a next marathon/next whatever, although I know I’d def want to asap haha.. maybe take some time to let everything settle?? 🙂

  49. Totally know what your going through. After my first marathon, I didn’t go to the gym for literally 3 months. I know this sounds a little dramatic, but I didn’t know what the point was to going (other than being healthy, etc). I signed up for my next marathon and then I was out of my funk!

    This summer I didn’t train for anything (first summer in like 5 years! ) and I’ll be honest, it has been SO hard to stay motivated when I’m not going for a goal. I finally signed up for a race in November (Hot Chocolate 15k!) so I had something to get me out the door and to the lake path when I’d rather sit in my sweatpants watching Friday Night Lights DVDs.

    I’m also thinking about a spring half marathon ( because the thought of completing long training runs in the dead of winter doesn’t excite me). There is a half and a full that runs through the cornfields of central Illinois and finishes on the 50 yard line at the University of Illinois’ (my alma mater!) football field. Thinking I need to sign up!

  50. Congratulations on your victory! I (stalked) followed the tweets and was truely excited for you. I haven’t had a post-goal case of the blues but I do sometimes get sad that I don’t feel as awesome as I first did when I started runnning. I still love finish lines and love working towards a distance goal and running races, but sometimes the thrill of the finish line isn’t as thrilling.

    I think your blues will be quickly cured and you’ll off to conquer the world with a positive attitude and I Love Sweat Shirt in no time. 🙂

  51. I’ve heard this about marathon training quite a bit. Makes me nervous that when I finish my first marathon next month, I’ll go through the same thing. Part of me thinks I’ll be relieved to not have long runs to dominate each weekend and ungodly hours to wake up at, but I think I’ll lose that sense of purpose and determination I’ve built up over the past few months.

    Congrats on killing your first marathon with an amazing time! I can only hope my experience is as rewarding as yours 🙂 Good luck choosing the spring marathon, can’t wait to hear what you decide on!

  52. The best words of wisdom I have (which isn’t much, but go with it) is this: you are not alone! Everyone else that ran that Hamptons Marathon feels this way, too! I got the post marathon blues after Disney in January…and I had to go home to snowy Cleveland, Ohio after that! Talk about depressing. I looked at the marathon pictures everyday for a month after that race and relived the special moments–it helped a lot. Good luck finding a spring marathon!

  53. I can agree with this 100%. I practiced and trained my whole life to get a full scholarship to play softball at a division 1 college. Well, I accomplished that goal with a ton of hard work. Once my four year college career was over, softball – the only thing I’ve ever known was over too. It was quite the adjustment, but I learned to move on and challenge my body in other ways. (Training for my first half marathon).

    Try to find a new challenge, or a new goal to reach!

  54. That is EXACTLY how I felt after the half in August…which is why I’m now facing another half marathon in just under a month AND is probably why I’m now itching to run a full marathon too (totally blaming you for this one!). I am competitive, but more so than that? I LIKE training towards a goal and the structure of it. It feels like such an accomplishment at the end, I love how much I learn, about myself, my strength, my mental endurance, all of it. It’s the best feeling in the world!

  55. I’m like you! I cried at the starting line because it was ACTUALLY HAPPENING (not sure what I thought I was training for if it wasn’t really going to happen…) but I still cried running to the finish. It’s been about 10 months since my first marathon and I’ve finally signed up for another.

  56. Jersey Shore Marathon in the spring. My husband and I will be there! We found we definitely need 2 marathons per year because we both need to train for something, not just for kicks.

  57. Definitely. I’ve already thought about how kind of sad it will be after my marathons. I’m running two this year and I do that on purpose….I like having two! You are so in the club — and it IS addicting. It’s so amazing to have a goal like that and every marathon means something different. Find another one — and you don’ have to wait a year (they are happening all the time!).

  58. Got them really bad after my first marathon. The others have been fine but I’ve always had another goal.

    I’m doing the shamrock full in March. I vote for that one. It’s my last one before a big break for me for the bar exam this summer.

  59. I can totally relate to your post-marathon blues – after both Ironmans (Ironmen?!) i totally got into a funk…but then you sign up for another race, even if it’s not another Ironman/marathon/whatever, and you start training again for a new goal, and you find your groove thang again. youre perfectly normal feeling this way – yay for spring marathons!

  60. I know how that feels. That’s how I felt last year my first marathon which was Chicago. The only cure, of course, is to find yourself another marathon. 🙂 I did the New Orleans Rock N Roll Marathon a few months later and crushed my first marathon time.

    I know it’s hard but try to give yourself some recovery time this week. Yoga, stretching, massage, etc. Your body has been put through the ringer and needs to rest! You will be back to your normal spunky self in no time!

    Maybe run a half marathon before the year is up, that will give you something to look forward to and keep you with a good base to build back up to another race in the spring.

    I am looking forward to seeing what you’re gonna do next! 🙂

  61. My motivation tanks when I don’t have something to plan for. Anticipation gets the adrenaline going. 🙂

    I’m tentatively planning on RnR New Orleans for my first marathon on March 4th. I say tentatively since winters (and training) can be brutal in New York but on the flip side, an early marathon on a flat and fast course in a beautiful city may give me the kick in the pants to get out there in the snow and sleet to train!

  62. I’ve been following your blog for a few months and I think only commented a few times (but I proudly wear my I heart sweat shirt to the gym)! I think it’s amazing what you just accomplished and I have enjoyed following your running journey for the past few months. Your morning blog posts always motivate me to want to get my booty to the gym!

    That let down feeling happened for me after my first triathlon. It was one of the best days of my entire life, and always will be, so a few days later after I no longer had to plan out my weekly workouts and gather gear – I felt lost and sad it was all over. While I wanted to train for another race I decided to try a different kind (a 10k) because it would feel like a new challenge.

    So maybe…you should try training for a triathlon? Swimming, biking AND running! 🙂

  63. I’ve never had a true desire to run a marathon even though I’ve been running for a long time, but reading your training posts have really made me think I’d like to try it! Maybe you could do Vermont City Marathon or the Pittsburgh Marathon in May 2012? I’ve heard both are great!

  64. I’m pretty sure I’ve avoided this let down feeling by always having another marathon on the horizon…oops? But I definitely know what you’re talking about, and I think it keeps us coming back for more. Sounds like you got bit by the bug. 🙂

  65. In high school our musical director would warn us about post show blues. You work and work and wait for show time, and then you take a bow and its over, and suddenly wonder “wait- what do I do with myself?! I have so much time!!” I think its normal with any big goal. I did find though that if you occupy your time with things you couldn’t focus on while training, the down wasn’t as bad because you are excited to get back into the things you missed.

    Can’t wait to hear about which marathon is next!!!

  66. I think those are pretty common feeling after a big race. When I first started running marathons, they became so addicting, I actually got burned out. I did 4 within a 2 year period – got disgusted because my times were not improving (all within the 4:15-4:30 range) and bascially took 2 years off. I focused on the shorter distance races – low and behold…I got faster! I decided to do the Marine Corps last year and BQ’d. My advice is to take it slow.

    It’s funny – I cry before almost every marathon too. Sometimes after too, but always before. The nerves, anticipation, fear, excitement all build up becuase I know I am about to do something great!

  67. Training for a race is kind of like planning a wedding or something. It’s all this build up and work and then it’s over in a few hours. But lucky with marathon training you can do it again in a few months!

  68. Yeah I am right now experiencing a bit of that after doing my performance a couple of weeks ago. It was a huge thing that I worked so hard… building the confidence, breaking through barriers of fear and negative self-talk and the actual actions of exercising, rehearsals, buying clothes, etc. I did asked my coach what to do next where do I go from here? One thing she suggested is to give myself a break to celebrate. Using a few days to let my body rest and truly celebrate the accomplishment. Allow for the next goal/fear breaking challenge to come up. I think its great that you are looking for your next race. Your blog inspires me to start running!

  69. I imagine it’s similar to campaigning… everyone on the campaign trail warns you that when an election is over you suddenly completely lose interest in everything, because everything you’ve been working so hard for is decided, done, there’s nothing you can do. It was a terrible low for me, but it looks like you’re tackling it head on! It’s exciting that you’re working towards another marathon! It was fun to follow you on the journey to this past one 🙂

  70. Oh GIIIIIRL, I feel ya. I felt that way after my first marathon, but I got it REALLY bad after this last marathon in March. I literally got back from DC, sat on the couch and proceeded to eat my way through an entire bag of pretzels and countless other weird foods. I watched cheesy movies and cried all day. I don’t think I left the couch for 8 hours. Sigh. But once I got back in the groove, it was all good. The “woe is me” ‘tude only lasted a couple of days. Guess it’s only natural, right? Anyway, if I know you, you’re already planning your next big thang!

  71. Could always do the St. Patrick’s Day marathon in March in NYC. After my first (and thus far only!) 5K in September I kind of felt like “Oh, that’s it? Hrm…” and almost felt angry that it was all over. Then I found another 5K to sign up for ;).

  72. Isn’t that the way it always is? You push, push, push toward a goal… and then it’s all over and there’s a big empty “What next?” feeling. At least that’s the way it is for me.

    Which is why I’m usually planning my next goal before the first is done. 😉

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about ali

I’m the creator of the Ali on the Run blog and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. I’m also a freelance writer and editor, a race announcer, a runner and marathoner, a mom, and a huge fan of Peanut M&Ms, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (way better than the first one!), and reliving my glory days as a competition dancer in the early 2000s. I’m really happy you’re here.
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