Sweet Excess and the Post-Event Blues
Being a creature of habit, I did not take a day off after running last Sunday’s marathon. I stoicly made my way to the gym for a core class. It would be a perfect post-marathon workout, I thought, as it would not involve the legs too much and I could continue steadily on my path of fitness.
I was correct in assuming the class was not leg-intensive. However, I overlooked that my run the day before had been pretty impactful on my body, especially to my core/abdominals.
On some level I knew this, but I felt so awesome after the run that I did not want the feeling to end. I figured the only way to keep the endorphin rush going was to head to the gym for more activity.
Everything started out okay, but about 20 minutes into my 45-minute class, my energy began to seep out of me. I made it through that core class, but only by gritting my teeth and gutting it out (literally).
After leaving class, fatigue continued to wind its way through my body. The intense activity during the last 45 minutes had tipped me over the edge of exuberance into a pool of post-event exhaustion.
The rest of the day I spent feeling oddly languid. Nothing bothered or stressed me. I reveled in my post-event accomplishment, content from having completed the marathon and exceeding my time goals. I signed up for another marathon that evening. Man, I love post-event bliss.
However, post-event bliss always ends, and this time was no exception. The next day I felt even more fatigued. A pain in my right quad was hanging around. Frustrated, I took the day off from the gym.
Wednesday, I ran a low-key three miles. My breathing was often ragged, as though I was pushing myself too hard. My heart rate was messed up, pounding from an easy effort. My quad, which I thought would feel better through the run, complained softly throughout and never loosened up.
I also lost control of my diet around mid-week, grabbing quick-energy sugary foods and fatty cheese. I even broke down one day and munched a few potato chips. That bummed me out even more.
What was wrong with me? I had been doing such a great job with my diet, just achieved my personal best marathon time, and here I was stuffing myself with junk while my body ached. Post-event blues.
The post-event blues happen to me almost every year around this time. I am inspired and invigorated by all of the physical activity of spring, and it suddenly morphs into something else.
I know the post-event blues are coming on the heels of post-event bliss, but not exactly when. Upon reflection I understand what’s happened… after I’ve eaten the junk I didn’t really want or need and tried to push myself when I should have taken a rest day. Or two.
Do others experience this? If so, how do you manage it? Is there any way to ward it off? Suggestions welcome.
I would like to do a better job of handling the post-event blues. I believe they are quite common among those who participate in endurance events. After all, many of us are avidly pursuing the endorphin rush only achieved through sweet excess.