Bonjour you glorious running champs!
Apologies for last week's absence but in all my post-Berlin Half Marathon madness, I'll be honest, I completely forgot about my hot date on Wednesday mornings with you guys. But fear not, we're back! So how's everyone's last couple of weeks of running been?
On April 1st, I (along with a bunch of others) ran the Berlin Half Marathon. Crazy good times. I know a lot of people have other races coming up and of course, the biggie, London Marathon, is next weekend, so today I thought I'd talk about what happens post-race.
You put in months of hard work in training, you can't wait for race day. The day comes and the buzz is incredible as you wait nervously at the starting line. You run, it's awesome, you learn lessons along the way, then you cross that finish line and it's about so much more than just that moment - it's the months of hard work, it's everyone who ever doubted you, it's you overcoming an obstacle and proving yourself wrong. The post-run endorphin rush is real. You love everything and everybody. You wander around with your medal round your neck, smiling goofily and recounting the tale of your race to anyone who'll listen.
The next day, you bask in your glory, tell your work mates, further bask in your awesomeness. But then what happens? Post-race blues. When the endorphins wear off and you're back to the every day grind, everything just seems to fall a little flat. For months you may have been up early training on certain days, watching what you eat, passing up nights out in favour of your training plan - now all of a sudden, you don't need to do that. You kind of lose your sense of purpose.
Training for a race is all encompassing. You live and breathe it while it's going on, so when all of a sudden it's not there anymore, it can be a real shock to the system. What is completely unexpected is that you may feel as if you don't want to run for a while. You don't think that will happen because you're a machine! You love running! You do it 3-4 times a week no matter what! There's no way you'd ever just 'not feel like it'. Oh, there is my friends. And it's OK to feel that. You'll get back to it eventually. Not running for a few weeks does not make you a lazy bugger. After my marathon last year, it took me at least 6 weeks to actually want to run again (I've known some people for whom it's taken a year for them to get back to it properly). My body felt fine and mentally I wanted to do it, but there were times in that six weeks I'd put my running kit on and all of a sudden just think 'I can't.'
What we often forget to do is really process what we've done. In all the hype and excitement of race day, when we're decompressing, we fail to understand and respect what we've just put our bodies through. Running a half marathon or marathon is something most people won't do in their lifetimes and here we are, cranking it out a few times a year. It is an incredible stress to put on the body, no matter how fit you are. So in those few weeks post-race where your body just doesn't want to do all that much, listen to it and let it. It doesn't make you lazy or a failure or any of these other things we have a tendency to tell ourselves when we don't run. You are a runner, you will run again eventually. A little time out will do you more good than harm.
In the interim, you can be active in other ways - maybe find a yoga or pilates class, sometimes more gentle. Go for walks and heck, just enjoy life! You will sign up to another race soon and start the whole training cycle again. In the meantime, don't be hard on yourself or your body.
Until next week amigos...have a great one.