Many runners struggle physically and emotionally in the days and weeks following the marathon. Taking a physical break and allowing your body to recover is far easier than dealing with the sense of loss or lack of focus in the aftermath of the marathon.
Marathon training can been so consuming, it significantly alters your lifestyle for months; it’s the focal point of every facet of your life. Months of training, discipline, hard work and anticipation culminate in the excitement of completing the marathon. The wave of excitement and sense of accomplishment for having achieved the marathon goal lingers for quite some time, but, inevitably, many runners begin to feel a major void in their lives. How do you fill that void? One solution is to begin planning your next marathon. But what do you do if you’ve decided that you’re not interested in running another marathon? I recommend that you channel a similar effort into another challenge. Your options are limitless; you can choose another physical challenge, decide to pursue higher education, a better employment opportunity or to improve some aspect of your life that’s been placed on hold for far too long.
It’s never too early to consider what life will be like once the marathon is over. Not having to get to bed early on Friday night or leave home when it’s still dark on Saturday morning to attend the weekly long run with the TEAM is typically a welcomed change. But, I recommend that you plan to have something to fill that HUGE void if you already know there’s not another marathon on the horizon. I have never experienced what I’ve described thus far since running has been an integral part of my life for nearly 35 years and I usually just continue on to my next venture. But I have witnessed this dynamic from many of the thousands of runners that I’ve coached in the last 15 years, and being prepared for the “let down” is helpful.
As your coach, my hope and dream is that you will feel the marathon was such a powerful and meaningful experience that you begin to look at the world differently and, most importantly, that you begin to look at yourself differently. My goal is not simply to get you to the finish line in Boston in relative comfort, my goal is to show you that you’re far more capable of accomplishing things that you never imagined. Life is far too precious and brief not to chase your dreams. I want to convince you to embrace the possibility of failure and continue to challenge yourself for the balance of your life so that you will always take considerable pride in the pursuit of your dreams!
I hope that the last step you take as you cross the finish line in Boston, is your first step in believing in yourself and knowing that you can make a difference in the world– because you have!