#DCM - the Day After the Day After...
Dublin Marathon Runners.
Tuesday Nov 1st. It's the Day After the 'Day After'. Still euphoric? Still sore?
Walking like a crab? Talking about the next mara or muttering 'never again'? ;-)
After all your hard work, training, dedication & 'Big Sunday' itself, the celebrations, the relief, the joy, the time right after a marathon can be downright odd & disorienting. Your body might be wrecked, you suddenly have oodles of free time & no big training schedule. Or set goal on the horizon. The post-mara blues are a common occurrence; you might feel dejected, deflated & wonder why. But if you know it's not unusual, that you're not the only one & even better have a 'blues' plan, then you'll be well on the way to a happy recovery on all fronts.
First, tend to your hardworking body. Walk every day if you can; it might feel like the pits for a day or two, but it'll massively help you to get out & about for a gentle stretch of the those amazing hardworking legs for 20-30 mins each day. Enjoy being able to look around at leisure at our still beautiful Autumn; let yourself look in the window of that new cafe you've been zooming past on training runs or even pop in for a well-deserved coffee & treat.
Try an Epsom Salts bath with Lavender & Peppermint essential oils; it'll cool the skin & warm the muscles. Peppermint is great for tired feet & muscular aches & pains & Lavender is relaxing & helps with stress, anxiety & insomnia, especially when we're overtired. No bath? Try a foot soak for those beleaguered feet. Throw in some relaxing essential oils like Peppermint again & Rosemary (stimulating & invigorating) to help get you up & about. Pull out the Foam Roller & ease out any particular aches & pains gently but regularly. Reconnect with family & friends & relish the chance to not see everything through the prism of the 'Big Run'.
Take your time.
One general rule of thumb is a week off running for every hour it took you to run your #DCM; bear in mind, we're all different so work out what's best for you. Remember it'll feel MUCH better to head out on your first 'proper' run after #DCM fresh & raring to go rather than still feeling tired & sore. Take your full recovery time & enjoy it. On average, we're talking between 3-6 weeks of no running training. Some experts suggest resting one day for every mile you run in the marathon, i.e. 26 days of no hard running or racing. Another suggestion is one rest day for every kilometre, i.e., 42 days rest. Remember it's not just your body but your mind that needs the r'n'r; Olympic champion Frank Shorter says: "You’re not ready to run another marathon until you’ve forgotten the last one."
Trying something new is also good for taking the focus off running for a while when you're in recovery mode. Try Yoga; it can benefit us runners so much on a number of levels. It provides a sequence of poses aimed at relaxing, strengthening & recharging those hardworking muscles & also, as a MindBody practice, Yoga assists us by helping us deal with stress & anxiety. Right now, your focus should be on restorative & relaxing poses & very much on breath-work; re-oxygenating the body & helping to tune into what's going on with you now after such a massive physical, mental & emotional effort & achievement.
This week, try Legs up the Wall for 5 minutes in the evening to help your run-weary legs recover while you take a moment to maybe try a Gratitude meditation. Be grateful to yourself & your body for undertaking so successfully such a big & taxing task, to family & friends for their support & all the organisers, stewards, volunteers & spectators for cheering & urging you on.
Actively practising gratitude can greatly assist with enhancing our well-being & lowering depression. Then transition to Deep Belly Breathing, lying down in Savasana aka Corpse Pose. Get cosy with a blanket; lying at ease in this pose for 5 minutes & focussing on your breath will come naturally after your huge running effort on Sunday :-)
Over time, maybe you'll find that Yoga will be become a wonderful cross-training compliment to your running & other training.
Now that you have some time to sit down & relax, you can have a chuckle at my 2012 Dublin Marathon effort - read the article I wrote for the Irish Times.
So, A MASSIVE WELL DONE. Enjoy a hard-earned rest, don't skimp on your recovery & when you're truly feeling fresh again, well then, keep on running :-)