After the Race

We train for months and months.  We put in countless hours of our time and experience every extreme of emotion along the way.  We think about race day, how it will turn out, what we will feel like at the finish.  Then before we know it, it’s all over.


A few weeks ago when I was talking to my friend about the Boston Marathon and I found myself comparing it to my wedding. 


My friend and I laughed at the comparison because obviously my wedding was a much bigger deal than a marathon, but they (specifically this marathon) do have some things in common.

  • I planned both for over a year.
  • I spent a lot of time and energy making sure everything in my control was done.
  • I counted down the days for months in advance.
  • I planned outfits, hotels, events and countless details around the big event.
  • I stalked the weather for days on end before hand.
  • It came and went in the blink of an eye. 

After my wedding I had a bit of a let down period, post wedding blues we will call it.  I was done with this huge life event that had occupied my thoughts for so long and was left in this state of “now what?”  I was so excited to call Chris my husband and very excited for everything we had to look forward to in our new life together, but I also had a hard time coming off of such a long time period of looking forward to a big event.

It’s not uncommon for runners to experience post race depression or blues, or just a general feeling of “what now?” once the race is over.  I know after many races, I would come off the finish line feeling happy and satisfied, but a few days after would be overwhelmed with being sad it was all over. 

Boston 2010 004

Sometimes we forget to talk or think about what happens when it’s all done.  When the medal is taken from your neck and hung on the wall.  When you are home and the soreness has worn off and your countdown clock is at zero.  When the event you have been imagining for so long now has an ending.

April 18th has been a long time coming for me.  After spending a whole year trying to qualify, then finally qualifying but having to wait 17+ months to actually run it, it almost feels like it isn’t really happening.  I know the weekend is going to go by in the flash of an eye, and I am going to soak up as much as I can of it while it’s happening, but I have also prepared myself for the post-event part in the best way I know how.

More races!

I think the key to not getting bogged down (at least for me) in the post race blues is to have other races or events to look forward to.  It doesn’t necessarily have to be running, it can be a fun weekend with your friends or significant other, or maybe it’s just sleeping in for a few weekends in a row, but races definitely do the trick for me.


Big Sur Marathon is 13 days after Boston and I am signed up to take the Boston to Big Sur Challenge.  Although the Big Sur isn’t going to be THE Big Sur course this year due to the road collapsing last week, it is still going to be an amazing girl’s weekend on a beautiful course and I can’t wait.  It will be my 10th marathon, run completely for fun, and I can’t imagine a better marathon to be #10.

2010 SB Wine Country Half Marathon 018

The next weekend I will be down in Santa Barbara spectating the half marathon that I tortured myself through last year.  This year I was smart enough to not sign up to run, but I will be cheering on my friends (and meeting some new ones!) with my coffee in hand and my Boston jacket on.


The San Francisco Marathon is another few months after that and I have trainees to help get to the start line of their first marathon!  I am so so so excited for this and so excited to run San Francisco again, but this time as an Ambassador.  It’s going to be such a great weekend with a ton of fun meet ups and a lot of great things going on.

On top of all those, I already am planning my options for my fall races.  Nothing is decided for sure, and I am waiting until after Boston to commit to anything, but I am excited for some fun possibilities!

Don’t worry though, just because I am looking ahead does not mean I am not wishing away or looking past the next 4 weeks in any aspect!  I am keeping my eye on the prize and I am going to enjoy every second the next 4 weeks leading up to Boston.  I am going to soak up the tiredness this week, the taper madness after that, the anxiety of race week, the nerves of race morning, the pain of racing, the glory of of the finish line and everything else that is in between.  

It’s going to be a very fun year and Boston is just going to be the kick off party to it all – I can’t wait!

Have you had the post race blues?  How do you handle them? 

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30 Responses to After the Race

  1. Tim Woodbury March 22, 2011 at 12:10 pm #

    I think you’ve got the right approach here. The best way I’ve found to avoid post-race depression is to start planning for the next race. That doesn’t have to mean starting to train for it. Even rest and rehab (read: hot-tubbing) is an important part of the training cycle.

    I took two months mostly off after my last big race, and it didn’t really hurt my fitness or conditioning that much. What’s more, it let me work out a lot of the niggling little pre-injuries I’d been ignoring at the end of the season. But, at the same time, I built that rehab into my schedule, and was working on choosing the next race during that time. Worked like a charm! :)

  2. Joe Vanek March 22, 2011 at 12:14 pm #

    Loved it !!

  3. Lauren @ Sassy Molassy March 22, 2011 at 12:19 pm #

    Fun post! Weddings do seem so energy sucking and then there’s the huge letdown afterward. I suppose we experience a letdown with anything we put that much time, effort and thought into. Sounds like you’re going to have a blast at boston and big sur!

  4. Cassie @ Tofu Meets Her Match March 22, 2011 at 12:20 pm #

    So, it’s not so crazy that my wedding is less than 3 months after my first marathon… maybe it will help with the post marathon blues? Great post and great attitude about Boston!

  5. Tina (MightyMite Runner) March 22, 2011 at 12:26 pm #

    I constantly compare the training for a marathon to being pregnant and delivering… that metal is my baby. LOL I know that I run because there are no more pregnancies or babies in my future and it keeps that baby fever at bay so I don’t just go steal a baby from someone or insist my husband reverses his visectomy.

  6. katie March 22, 2011 at 12:35 pm #

    ha – that’s how i handle it – sign up for some more races!

  7. Jeni @ stepping out March 22, 2011 at 12:38 pm #

    I definitely had “post-race blues” after my first half marathon last October. For about a month or so far my fitness routine was hit or miss. I had a few races sprinkled through but nothing big. I didn’t “get over it” until I started training for my second half marathon which I didn’t have any “post-race blues” after because I went right into training for my third half marathon (currently 3 weeks away).
    I will definitely be planning races for motivation after my first marathon this October.

  8. Kristy@RunTheLongRoad March 22, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

    I want to do Big Sur one day too – also for fun though! I know it’s not the best PR course but I would like to just enjoy the beautiful scenery.

    The best way I get over post-race blues is to sign up for another one! Then I get to put together a plan, which makes me very happy! On the flip side, I do enjoy the post-race laziness that I allow myself for 1 week :)

  9. Marlene March 22, 2011 at 1:40 pm #

    I got GOOSEBUMPS when you said “coffee in hand and Boston jacket on”. EEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

    I love the marathon/wedding comparison. Soooo true and hilarious when you look at it that way! At least marathons are QUITE as expensive. But not far off… :S

  10. Kristen March 22, 2011 at 1:45 pm #

    I agree that the post running event blues and the post wedding blues are comparable :) Sounds like you’re ready to beat the blues though!

  11. Jordan March 22, 2011 at 2:38 pm #

    Sounds a lot like the first marathon I ran. I was so nervous yet so confident that I would qualify for boston that when I finished all I could do was cry. I couldn’t even appreciate that I had just finished a MARATHON! 26.2 miles! Hopefully I can learn from that and enjoy the next marathon I attempt.

  12. Nelly March 22, 2011 at 3:35 pm #

    Great post! Your posts are always so interesting, because they are usually exactly what most of us runners are thinking about all the time! I almost equate doing a big race with taking final exams in college and also going through tax season. You are so focused while these activities are going on, then when they are over, its kind of like – what do I do now? It is nice to be done, but I’m sort of lost for about a week, until I find my normal routine again. Definitely always an odd feeling.

    And I was thinking about your post about Afraid to Race – it seems like you desire to beat most of your PRs. (as most of us do). Though you have been focusing on the marathon a lot the past couple years – and since you qualified for Boston, trained for Boston, and will run Boston soon. Enjoy the experience! Maybe after you finish Big Sur and have a bit of a breather you attacked each distance with a new training plan one after the other, just rolling one into the next?

    What if you did a 12 week training plan for the half marathon
    Then 10 week training plan for the 10K
    Then 8 week plan for the 5k

    You could run each of those goal races at the end of each training plan, I bet you would beat all of your PRs doing this plan since the workouts would be goal race specific. Starting at the half marathon distance will gradually ease you into doing more quicker speed work, seems like starting at the 5K race distance wouldn’t be as useful, since you would be in marathon shape when you started.

    I think the book Run Faster has great plans, I forget exactly how long each training plan is for each distance, but the length of time goes down the shorter the goal race is.

  13. Little Miss Runshine March 22, 2011 at 4:29 pm #

    I like this post! I totally can relate with the post race blues! I deal with it by signing up for another race! :)
    I hope to some day have the post wedding planning blues! :) My friend who just got married has that!

  14. Holly March 22, 2011 at 4:40 pm #

    I’ll be at Big Sur! It’s my new boyfriend’s first race – we’re doing the 5k together. :)

  15. Nicole March 22, 2011 at 4:40 pm #

    Im trying to contain my wedding excitement so im not too depressed afterwards! :)

  16. Allison March 22, 2011 at 6:00 pm #

    I agree with what you (and others) have said, having more races on the calendar seems to help me get over the post-race blues. Having that next race to focus on is important. I need to have a least one goal ahead of me!

    I also find I like to vary my workout routine in the few weeks after a big race (particularly if i have some time before starting another training cycle). I think it keeps me excited about working out and prevents burnout.

  17. Karyn March 22, 2011 at 6:17 pm #

    i don’t think i’ve trained for enough races to have post race blues hahah. having something to look forward to after is always a huge help. then again, i never let myself revel in my races either so there’s never a time to reflect and get all bluesy that it’s over.

  18. Raina March 22, 2011 at 7:03 pm #

    Hi Aron,

    I was put on to your blog a few months ago by a runner friend of mine and I really enjoy it. We share the same passion for running and my PR’s are quite similar to yours!

    I ran Boston in 2009 and the post-Boston blues are ABSOLUTELY similar to post wedding blues. I remember panicking the week before I ran, not just about the day itself but I was already worried about the “after.” You’ve got the best solution already, focus on the next race. I ended up pregnant with number two right after (too much post run celebrating I guess :-) ) so that gave me an amazing gift to focus on and this year I’m running NY for the first time. YAHOO!!

    All the best in Boston. The energy there is amazing!! I can honestly say that I enjoyed every step of that race!! Hopefully, you will too!


  19. Lee March 23, 2011 at 5:05 am #

    Racing is like getting married. It’s like this huge thing that you are waiting and waiting for and suddenly it’s over.

    I do the same thing you do – I sign up for more races. I did a half marathon this past weekend and two days later, signed up for a 5K.

  20. chris March 23, 2011 at 6:03 am #

    Post race blues are always tough. You have some other really great races lined up, should be a lot of fun.

  21. Morgan March 23, 2011 at 6:05 am #

    Great post girl! This is a subject I don’t think enough newbie runner’s know about, everyone gets caught up in the training for and running of a race but nobody talks about those post-race blues… I know personally that I always feel out of sorts for the first week or two getting used to NOT training 24/7. I def always try to have a fun run planned right out of the gate and after a week or two I’ll plan a more serious race.

  22. Joanne March 23, 2011 at 7:12 am #

    It sounds like an exciting plan for you, continuing after Boston.

    As for me, I’ll be so happy to get Boston over with after suffering a really bad winter of training. Then the excitement begins. I get to watch my husband compete in his first
    spring triathlon! I can’t wait! After that, we spend a week in Naples, FL. Then I’m going to
    get back to cycling and swimming before doing more running races but I have a half marathon in August than should be fun.

  23. Mile Posts by Dorothy Beal March 23, 2011 at 7:43 am #

    Same way you do :) Another marathon! I’ve gone back to back for every marathon besides last year – but that’s because I found out I was preggo right after – otherwise there would have been another one. Instead I did a 5K and Cherry Blossom 10 miler before hanging up my racing flats till post baby. Can’t wait to see you in Boston – less than 26.2 days – wooo hooo!

  24. Beth March 23, 2011 at 8:25 am #

    Thats a great way to address the post marathon blues! I also sign up for a race that requires some sort of training or prep.

  25. Rebekah March 23, 2011 at 8:49 am #

    such a true and accurate anology weddings vs. marathons. you’ve worked so hard for boston, savor and enjoy! it IS good to have a race after to look forward too though. post race blues are rough.

  26. Amber from Girl with the Red Hair March 23, 2011 at 8:50 am #

    I TOTALLY had post-race blues after my marathon in October. I don’t think it helped that I was injured and couldn’t run at all for 6 weeks afterwards and I generally just felt down in the dumps.

    I’m also pretty much positive I’m going to have post-wedding blues since I’m already starting to do a bit of planning (not really by choice, mostly because venues book up SO FAST where we are getting married) 1.5 years out!!

  27. J March 23, 2011 at 10:47 am #

    Planning a wedding and planning for a race are so similar! I worry about what I am going to do after all this planning for the wedding but I think i will need a break from everything so hopefully I will have a few races to keep me occupied and also other projects!

  28. Emily March 23, 2011 at 11:38 am #

    well, I haven’t been married yet…but I can definitely relate to the post-race blues. I’m not going to lie to you, Boston WILL fly by. But you are going to relish every second of it! Having so many exciting races and running adventures after Boston will definitely help ease the pain of it all being over. For now, stay pumped up and enjoy the ride until Hopkinton!

  29. Felice March 23, 2011 at 12:02 pm #

    I agree that having races lined up is key. I like having one major goal but also being able to think about other things that are coming up.

    Enjoy your next four weeks!!

  30. Jo Lynn March 23, 2011 at 10:59 pm #

    I haven’t had post “race” blues but could totally relate to the blues feeling after an event is over. I’m afraid I’m going to have that after Sara’s wedding/our Jamaica vacation. Most times I have another trail running event on the horizon to look forward to. ;)

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