This post is written by Jennifer Heidmann


Running without a Garmin is peculiar.

How far did I go in that 1 hour and 3 minutes? How fast did I go in that 63 minutes? If nothing is recorded, did it actually happen?

I just race a marathon.  Months of training.  Hours of workouts.  All for the purpose of that marathon.

It came, it went, it was recorded on the Garmin.

Post-marathon, I choose to run unhindered by record keeping. Today, as I climbed the hill to Janes Creek Trail, I sought shade, for it was hot. I closed eyes and mouth against occasional swarms of gnats. I leapt streams and spaced out with thoughts of nothing.

It occurs to me that avoiding the keeping of records is the perfect balm against the post-marathon blues.

No matter who or how fast you are, if you run a marathon, you pay attention to the details. Pace. Finishing or not finishing. Negative splits. Then you hobble for a day (or two).

Then you say “now what?”

Few will ever be elite runners. More than a few but still not many are really fast. The rest of us are just fast, or fast enough. Because if you are running, that is, by definition, fast. And even the merely fast are often passionate about this sport.

Though I subscribe to all the magazines regarding running, I have to laugh a little at their attempt to make it seem complicated. Running is fairly simple. My first racing season, age 12, was in Chuck Taylors. My second in the then highly technical Saucony Jazz. Chromosomally, many of us require a sports bra to keep the girls in check.

Otherwise-whatever. You just go outside and run.

Given this simplicity, it should be easy to transition from the focused preparation for a big race back to everyday running. But feeling blue after a marathon, or any big race, is common, for elites, for super fasties, for the mere fast, and whichever chromosomal pair you sport.

Quit Moping and Start Fresh

I’m no expert, but still, here are 5 ways to beat the post race blues:

1) Lose the Garmin. Run unfettered. Run daily. Run wherever. Run up hills. Run in a ratty old t-shirt. Run. Run. Run.

2) Rest. For a week. Then, see above.

3) Dream. What other goal(s) do you have? A faster marathon? A more challenging course? Boston? An ultra? A speedy 5K? A long trail run in an as yet unexplored (by you) wilderness? Choose something. Put it on your calendar. Train for it.

4) Let it drop in conversation. That you finished a marathon. Mention your time, if you feel like it. Also, buy one of those outrageously priced photos they took of you in the race. Post it on Facebook, or perhaps email it to everyone you know. Damn straight, people. I ran 26.2 miles. Actually, in my last marathon, my Garmin said I ran 26.54 miles. Everyone else’s Garmin was in sync with mine. I want some credit for that extra .34 miles!

5) Enjoy your health. Life is short. You can run. Love it, savor it. Running is a bit like parenting teenagers. Some days you want it to end ASAP, but most days you want it to last forever, safely under your watch. And when it gives you a tender hug, your heart melts.

As Lucy said, I’ll give you five good reasons.

  1. Freedom.
  2. Well earned rest.
  3. Dreams.
  4. Pride.
  5. Gratitude.

It’ll be interesting to see how long I can leave the Garmin at home…

Jennifer Heidmann has been running for 30 years, racing every distance from the 400m to the marathon. Her next adventure will be tackling her first 50 mile ultramarathon. She is also a physician, a pianist and a mother of 2.9 teenagers. Check out her personal running blog, Redwoods and Running, for more great tips and stories.

 Photo Credit

Author Doug Hay is the founder of Rock Creek Runner, host of the Trail Talk podcast, and fanatical about everything trail running -- beards, plaid shirts, bruised toenails, and all. He and his wife live and run in beautiful Black Mountain, NC.

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