Post-Marathon Blues

Friday, May 5, 2017

At the London Marathon red start
As you read on Monday, the London Marathon has come and gone.  It has been my sole focus since mid-December, so to have it gone is a bit unsettling.  I still have my long term goal of qualifying to run the Boston Marathon in 2019, but it seems so far away and I am not really happy with my London Marathon performance.  Yes, I got a PB, but deep down I feel it is because I didn't stop and use the bathroom as many times as I did in Berlin.  I also didn't stick with my goal of 9:30min/miles.  Friends warned me not to start off the London Marathon too fast.  I did though (the cheers are infectious!) and tried to rein myself in.  Near the start of the race, my splits were estimating I would finish in 4:15:00.  But my body just wasn't strong enough.  Hips and legs started to hurt at mile 16, which was 10 long miles from the finish line.

This has always been my problem during a marathon and I know how to solve it. Is it fear that keeps me from strength training?  Lack of time?  Self-sabotage?  I have all the kit I need, the knowledge of the exercises, free access to a small gym, a membership to an online gym with tons of video resources yet there is a mental block.

After every marathon (or usually 2 weeks before), I swear I will lift for the next race.  My butt shouldn't be lazy.  My heels should come up to my bum when I run not barely lift off the ground, right?

It comes down to how badly do I want it?  How much am I willing to give to reach Boston, to finish a marathon feeling strong rather than limping around for the following week, to fit the expected aesthetics of a personal trainer (another one of my insecurities)?

To bring things into focus, I have set myself three SMART goals:
  • Complete 2 strength sessions a week for the next eight weeks
  • Three rounds of 10 kegals and clams six days a week
  • Run Chicago Marathon in 4:15:00 (8 October 2017)

As a #fitnessrockstar in Julia B Fit's online gym (where a free basic membership is available), I am fortunate enough to have access to most of her videos.  There are a dozen programs or you can mix and match videos as you see fit.  Julia recommended a few specific workouts for me that fit in my two sessions/week goal, as well as getting my body into better running shape.  She has introductory videos for all the programs to give you specific instructions on each move.  This allows you to 'hit the ground running' when you watch the workout.  As a personal trainer, I find her combinations of movements refreshing.  The body is continually challenged, no matter which video you watch.  A lot of the workout can be done without any equipment or simply dumbbells and a yoga mat.

Working out in my narrow flat
Don't worry, I will keep busy on the other five days of the week.  I have a few spin classes that I am taking at the Velodrome and RUNch sessions mixed in too.  In June, I am taking part in the London 10 Mile race in Richmond Park (anyone up for brunch?) so I need to keep logging miles.  Something else is planned for July too but I will share more about that soon.

After the eight weeks of strength training, it will be time for me to start marathon training properly again.  I am considering hiring a run coach to give me a bit more structure to improve my speed.  If you have ever worked with a running coach, please leave a comment below on any advice you have for selecting one.  Or if you have any tips on getting over the post-marathon blues, I would love to hear about them.

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