Two and a half weeks after London and I’m getting back into some training. The first week after the marathon I felt absolutely dreadful. I couldn’t sleep, I ached, I didn’t even have the appetite I hoped I would have. My first few easy runs back I felt shockingly bad. I felt like I’d forgotten how to breathe and it felt like I was running the final few miles of the marathon over and over again. With a few more easy days in the bag, I now feel almost normal. I’ve been able to get some good steady runs back in and even the odd short session with the group. The aches and pains have gone and my appetite has most definitely returned! I do believe that the quick return is partly due to the fact that I had a good 8 days off in the few weeks leading up to the marathon.
The one thing I have learnt from previous marathons is to listen to your body after the event. It’s quite difficult to judge how much the marathon has taken out of the body. I’ve had very different responses following previous marathons.
Last year following the Manchester Marathon (minus 380m) I was on a high and tried to rush back into some hard training too soon. I started knocking out sessions less than a couple of weeks after the marathon but rather than feeling recovered, I still felt tired and as if I was forcing myself back into it. I didn’t feel ready, but I was keen to use the work I’d put into the marathon to propel me into the summer season. Low and behold within a couple of weeks I picked up an injury that would hinder me throughout the summer season. At the other end of the spectrum after running the Amsterdam Marathon in 2014 where I had a disappointing run, failing to get anywhere near 2.30 let alone break it, I felt something hadn’t been right. After a couple of days rest I was back out training and found that my legs felt like I’d had a good workout rather than raced a marathon. Whatever had been wrong with me during the Amsterdam (we suspected a virus) had forced me to hold back a bit which had saved the legs. James and I talked about it and decided we’d look at it as nothing more than a hard training run and we’d attempt another marathon less than six weeks later. Once again it felt as if we called it right as I knocked 10minutes off of my pb in Florence.
My point is that everyone recovers at a different rate and some may have dug themselves a deeper hole during the event than others. Just take your time. As well as being physically exhausted, many runners may also find they experience ‘post marathon blues’. After gearing up for a big race for so long, whether the result has gone your way or not, most people find themselves mentally drained. Once again everyone has different ways of dealing with this. Personally I’ve chosen to meet with James and have drawn up a racing plan for the next few months and identified my short and long term goals. I find having something to focus on helps to get you back out that door.
Now for me, it’s time to get back out there, get some speed into the legs and try to rewrite some pb’s. I hope to see you all around this summer, thanks for reading.