I have a confession to make.
Since the Chicago Marathon on October 8, I have run exactly 7 times. I went back to Weight Watchers and have hardly counted my points. Fortunately, I have not really gained any weight because I have slacked off on eating the healthier foods. I feel lethargic. I feel disengaged from life. I feel blah. I feel a little lost.
Is marathon depression a real thing? Trust me, I am not trying to be funny or make a joke or make light of people who have real issues with depression. But I am not the person I used to be prior to this marathon and it is really bugging me.
Before I started training for that race, I was mostly careful about my eating, and I happily went for runs or did other workouts because I knew they were good for me and I enjoyed exercising.
When I started training in May, that became my life. My whole life revolved around training — my exercising, my eating, my drinking, my social life, my physical activity — everything was colored in one way, shape, or form by the training.
Then I ran the race and spent a good week or two riding that high and giving my body time to rest and recover, keeping my activity down to a minimum. Then I knew it was time to get back to normal — being more careful about what I eat to drop some pounds (I can’t help but wonder what it would be like to run that race with 20 – 40 pounds less on my body……), vary my exercising to not burn out on running, get some more sleep, spend more time with friends and family without having to cut time short because I’ve got to run the next morning. And I just can’t seem to do it.
I get up in the morning, perpetually hitting the snooze and then ultimately turning the alarm off so I don’t exercise. I wake up late and lethargic. I eat crap. I come home and flop on the couch and watch TV. I stay up late and then can’t get up in the morning so the whole cycle repeats itself. It’s like I don’t know how to exist without training being the driving force in my life. I feel like I don’t know what to do with myself.
I thought maybe I need to train for another race, but I’m finding the motivation for that hard t do, too. After all, I conquered the holy grail of races, so now what? It’s not like training for a half marathon would be easy, because it’s not, but I’m having a hard time psyching myself up for doing that.
Am I alone on this? Are there other runners who have done marathons and felt this way? How do I get my mojo back?
Last year, I spent 7 solid months working out regularly three times a week. Then my trainer quit her training business to spend more time with her son. Instead of finding another outlet right away, I decided to take a break for a couple weeks (work stress factored into it, too). It’s been a year and I went through a major depression and have gained 15 pounds. I went back to my counselor to see what was wrong with me. One thing she pointed out is that dropping that exercise regimen I sent myself into a pendulum. I was stretching a rubber band consistently and then when I stopped it snapped back. I don’t think I’m explaining that as clearly as she did, but it has stuck with me. I was snapping back the opposite way. Unfortunately, I’m just now starting to get some fight back in me. I don’t know that this helps in your case, but it feels a bit similar. I should have pushed myself to keep going at the time. Now I find it harder to start back up again.