It's common for marathoners to feel depressed after the big race. Knowing how to cope with the post-marathon blues will reduce its impact
You reach the finish line, waving at the crowds who are roaring in joy and cheering you. Your dream has finally come true and you achieve what you had set out to do. All those months of planning, preparation, and hard work have borne fruit. You've completed your marathon and you feel like you've conquered the world. But the feeling is only a fleeting one and you're not sure why, when you should be elated at your accomplishment, you're feeling down and confused about your mental state.
This state of mind is called the post-marathon depression or after-race blues that affects many runners.
Why it happens
Training for a marathon consumes every aspect of your life. It's thrilling and enjoyable but at the same time strenuous and demands high levels of commitment. In the case of some people, for months the sole focus of their lives is on putting on the running shoes and pounding the asphalt - sometimes for hours at a time. For them, nothing exists beyond their event, and their minds and bodies are completely focused on a selected goal. There is no free time for them. If not actual practice, they are busy visualising their moves and tactics. Then there is the diet, injury [rather avoiding it], mileage and timing to think about.
All of this takes up a lot of time, energy and involvement. It keeps you engaged and on the move. While preparing for long distance races, serious runners are lost in a world of their own - sometimes they barely socialise. Once the race is over, you may experience a void or an empty space that previously used to be filled by training sessions. The training and preparation that was such a big part of your life is now gone.
During the training period, you're constantly stimulating the body to release endorphins. These endorphins do a wonderful work of improving the runner's mood and give her a feeling of euphoria during exercises and practice sessions. The high continues through your training and peaks on the days close to the final run. However, once you've met your goal and there is nothing more to keep you as stimulated, there is a sudden drop in the endorphin level, which causes a temporary feeling of unexplained sadness and emptiness.
The physical condition, the sore muscles and overall fatigue, at times forces you to question if the entire process was worth the trouble.
Overcoming this phase
There are various strategies that you can adopt to treat and prevent post-marathon depression.
Signs of post-marathon depression
- By Mugdha Baware(complete wellbeing)