Week #17 – PMS: Post Marathon Syndrome
After your marathon, you need to take time off, both to savor your accomplishment and to let your body rest and recover. I recommend at least several days of complete relaxation post-race. I am sure you were sore for the first few days and that is to be expected. After a few days, you can slowly resume exercising to help you loosen up.
Take time to reflect on your achievement, whether this is your first marathon or your fortieth. Review your training notes and see where you can make improvements. Run the race again in your mind and see what you would change next time and what you think really worked this time. Re-evaluate the goals that you set for yourself. Be thankful that you are healthy enough to be able to participate in a marathon and don't ever take it for granted. And, after you have done all this, start looking for your next challenge!
PTSD: Post Triathlon Stress Disorder
Many marathoners, myself included, experience what I refer to as PMS, or Post-Marathon Stress Syndrome. It is a form of depression that comes soon after your race day. It is a natural response, and it's easy to understand its etiology: You devoted a significant part of your life to a single purpose and now that you have achieved it, there is a feeling of sadness or letdown. (This seems to be true whether you achieved or fell short of your goal).
I believe the reaction stems from having a definitive purpose and it illustrates the power of goal setting. This is just one reason I love marathons: They give us direction and a goal to reach for and they compel us to engage in healthy habits to achieve that goal. After you have taken time to reflect on your marathon experience and allowed your body to recover, start looking into your next event. It need not be another marathon. Consider an organized bike ride, an adventure race or a triathlon event.
The point is to stay active while giving you a clear goal to shoot for. This will surely cure your PMS and get you back on track. Congratulations! I'm proud to have been a part of your amazing effort!