Do you have those days when you just can’t seem to put your finger on it, but you feel blue?

Or the days that you sort-of-can put your finger on it but you aren’t really sure how to explain it to anyone other than yourself?

I get this way post marathon. Each and EVERY time this happens to me.

Post marathon I wonder why I run them. Even races that go according to plan, make me feel blue a week or two later. The build up of months and months of training are realized on this one amazing day and then it’s over.

I frantically search for another race I want to run and inevitably it is a marathon. I talk myself out of it knowing that I am not a super human and that I need to rest. I talk myself out of it because I already have too much going on to run a marathon every month. I talk myself out of it because of the cost. I talk myself out of it because I still want to keep up my speed and I somewhat believe that you can’t have quantity in the marathon and still reach your peak potential in speed [but don’t quote me on this because my thoughts on this are ever changing].

I like the shorter distances but they just aren’t something I feel strong at. I feel strong in a marathon even when I am having an off day.

I don’t feel strong in a 10K. I feel like I am dying a slow death. I feel the lactic acid in my muscles burning. I feel my lungs tightening. I don’t enjoy it. I run them to get faster at the marathon.

I don’t feel strong in a 10 miler. Just when I find my groove – it’s over. I’m not sure how to pace a ten miler. I know logically how to pace it but in practice I’ve never done it well enough to finish and say wow I just gave it my all. I typically end up feeling like I have more in the tank and wonder why I wasn’t able to put that energy into the race.

I enjoy the 1/2 distance but always find myself thinking during a race  – when is this going to be over how am I only at mile such and such?

I don’t feel this way in most marathons. The miles click off and I find myself happier and happier as the miles go on.

It’s a rainy day today and I usually love the rain – but it’s not helping to snap me out of my post marathon blues.

It’s not the finishers medals I’m after, or even the number of marathons on my tally.

I am after that fleeting feeling that I get during 26.2.

I am after the post marathon tiredness. Not the tiredness that comes in the days and weeks after – but that moment when you sit down on the curb and think to yourself – oh yes you did just run a marathon.

Do you get this way after marathons? Why do you run them? What feeling are you chasing? Is it a feeling?


  1. I’m running my first half in november, and hope i don’t get the blues post-race.

  2. wow, you are 100% describing what i’m feeling right now! all this morning, i kept thinking that this time last week i was in the athletes’ village preparing to run boston. i can’t believe it is over and i’m so, so sad.

    even though i have a 10-mile race 2 weeks from now, it is NOT the same. i love to run long and the marathon is just perfect for me. it’s my happy distance.

    cheer up 😉

  3. I can’t say I know exactly what you’re saying, just because I have yet to run a marathon. But I do know that feeling of being down when you just can’t explain why. I don’t know…as a runner I know I’m overzealous and it’s all I can think about sometimes, even with 3 little ones to take care of. Hang in there it will pass, you’re human and it’s okay to have these feelings sometimes.

  4. I’d say I get more of the next-race-fever that post-marathon blues. I have been semi-obsessing over my next race and how I’m going to BQ for 2013 after I get over the injury I have going on right now. I have to remind myself that even though I love the feeling of the really long run–that trifecta of endorphins, accomplishment, and exhaustion–each and every run is such a gift! I especially feel that right now, since I can’t run at all. :)

    Do you have any races on the docket for the rest of the year?

  5. Totally felt this way after RnR NOLA, my first marathon. Even though I didn’t nail my goal, afterwards I said to myself, “Wow, I just ran 26.2 miles.” All that careful planning for months and putting long runs under my belt – that was all over in 5 hours. I was kind of sad that my first time journey was over. The amazing support from everyone, how excited everyone was for me, I think that’s what I thrived on. But now I wonder if after every marathon I run I am just chasing down that high.

  6. Rebekah – I was so sad for you when I saw you DNF Boston :( You truly do remind me to appreciate every run. How long do you think you will be out for? Sending hugs your way! xoxo

  7. I like that – it’s my happy distance. It’s mine too :)

  8. I still haven’t tackled a full marathon yet, but I do feel this way after a half. It is still a huge accomplishment for me and I train and look forward to it for so long…and then it’s over. I don’t enjoy the shorter distances as much either. I like the purpose and focus of training for something big. I like looking forward to it and mentally preparing for it. So yeah, I get what you’re talking. My half is like your full and yep, I get the blues too.

  9. Completely agree! So sad I can’t run any for a little while :( :( But I’ll read your race recaps and wait until I can instead!

    PS so excited for nuun for announce YOU tomorrow for HTC!!

  10. Boy, this feeling is very real. I find for me that I only really get this way after full marathons- especially when I do not have another full lined up for several months. My last marathon was 7 weeks ago and it took about 2 weeks to get out of my slump. I’ve temporarily switched gears to racing shorter distances. I like the challenge plus the lower mileage gives my body a needed break- although that is a whole different struggle in itself. I used to HATE the 10K distance but after training for it and racing it right recently it is my new favorite shorter distance race. My current 5K goal is to break 19 minutes which I haven’t done since college. 5K’s are REALLY out of my comfort zone these days but it’s all part of the challenge. If you don’t have another full lined up for a while, maybe you could challenge yourself to PR in as many other distances as you can. That’s how I am trying to use this time anyway… :-)

  11. I absolutely get post-marathon/post-race blues. Never for shorter distances…halfs, 10k’s, etc. I guess because not as much effort and training goes into the preparation. I felt the same way after my half-ironman as I do after marathons. Just this dull, sad feeling that is hard to let go of. I obsess over every little thing that happened during the race and how I could have changed it or done something different to improve my time. Even when I have had something to train for or another goal race after, it usually takes me a few weeks to get back to “normal”. I can sympathize with you, but hopefully it won’t last long and you will feel back to your happy self again!

  12. I’ve definitely found that my body has gotten used to the endorphin rush of a good run or a strong race, and I go through withdrawal afterward when that goal has been met. It doesn’t happen after every race, but I’ve definitely had those post race blues. I hope it passes quickly for you!

  13. Danielle says:

    I’ve run 6 marathons and only after my last marathon(Boston 2011) did I really get the blues. I remember the night of the marathon trying to figure out which marathon I would do next. I really had a tough time for many months after that race, even though I ran a 1/2 and rode a 100 miler within 4 months. It wasn’t until I registered and officially started training for the Eugene Marathon this coming weekend, did I finally get out of my funk. This time I already have a 100 mile bike ride set up for 3 weeks after Eugene and my husband and I already registered for the Portland Marathon. I’m mentally and physically preparing myself this time, so hopefully I get over that feeling more quickly.

    Just keep as positive as you usually are and before you know it you’ll be at your next starting line.

  14. I am so sorry you are not feeling well. I have so much empathy. I feel the same thing. This is an extreme example, but it’s like a solider coming home from war. I have heard they feel a little lost because what they have been through is so big and unlike anything else, it is difficult to go back to a normal life. They can often times only relate to the people that were with them (much like we all as marathoners relate to one another, and often times dont have friends outside of running) I do not mean to offend our service members, my husband is a veteran, and I have the utmost respect for what they have gone through ( I am simply making a comparison) because I see the paralel. Your a soldier coming home Dorothy… it’s not easy.. I am hear if you ever need a shoulder. Sending you much love and prayers for you serenity and peace. xo

  15. I haven’t run any marathons, but I get like this after duathlons and I’m always looking for another after. I feel your pain, I just love the feeling of being at a race with all the other people and once its over I just wish it lasted longer!

  16. I feel ya. I call it runners depression but really it’s just feeling down after a big event that you’ve been looking forward to happens, was incredible, and you want to live in that moment forever! Look up “The Blue Day Book” I tend to read it to myself (or husband or students) when I feel down or, well, blue 😉

  17. oh I’ve had the blues all day. for me it is weather today, just a miserable crummy one.
    Normally after my races I get so excited and on a HIGH that I can’t sleep and I want to get up and TRAIN.. crazy….. I luckily haven’t gotten the post race blues…… or maybe I get the regular blues so much I don’t notice it is post race, ha ha!

  18. I’m actually the opposite. When I get in a rhythm of passing miles by I get bored. I get excited when I feel myself running fast – in a faster race, be it 5k or 10k. The marathon is certainly a feat for me, but a feat that only needs to be done once so that I can say I’ve done it. Funny how people differ – good luck in your next one!

  19. I’m a half marathon girl. I don’t get blue but it’s that anti-climactic feeling that it’s over. I won’t travel to a race alone because it’s a let down to finish and be alone. But that tired, euphoric feeling of doing the race and finishing the race is amazing. It’s what I train for.

  20. I usually ask myself why I run them when I am “running” them! After I am finished I feel almost invincible. Weird. :-)

  21. I haven’t ran a full 26.2 marathon yet but its on my list for this October. :) I have to say that I have experienced that feeling after every race because I get so excited for the race and then its over, kind of like Christmas. There is an extravagant build up to the day and then it comes and its grand or it sucks but the next day life seems to be too boring so I then look for another race. I will say that running long distances has taught me to enjoy the journey and even though every mile like every day may not be glorious it still is a day in this marathon of life that I must persevere through until I have finished this race called life.
    Some of mine and probably your favorite verses :) :
    Philippians 3:13-14 NIV
    Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
    Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV
    …And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith…
    2 Timothy 4:7 NIV
    I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

  22. I ought to feel like this right now because I have NO races on my calendar! Plus Boston was a little bit of a let-down; I wanted to race it but I just jogged it. Normally I would go straight home after that kind of race and sign up for another one, but it’s getting too darn hot for that now. So I’ll just have to wait for next year!

  23. I run half marathons most, but yes I get so sad after. Then I have to sign up for another one! My first marathon in 2010 didn’t go well and I was bummed, and my next is this June, so I guess we’ll see how that plays out. Love the post though, so true about races whatever your fave distance.

  24. I have gotten sad after half marathons but I’m 4 days out of my first full and can’t imagine how empty I’ll feel after. I hope this is somewhat normal but yesterday I was so ‘blue’ and emotional and I haven’t even raced yet! I just have devoted so much time and energy in training and it’s knocking on my doorstep now. I hope this is just taper kinks cause I wanna be PUMPED!

  25. I feel this on the days that I don’t exercise. I love the way my body feels after any exercise and on the rest days or even my lazy days I feel blue. Its hard to explain this feeling to those that don’t enjoy exercising. The feeling is real. I know my Dad felt the blues with injuries and not able to compete for quite awhile. Hope you feel better soon

  26. Im totally with you. I miss the focus. The drive. I feel so aimless in my runs. Then I eat…but that’s a whole different issue!!!!

  27. Well, I never thought I’d say this but I do know how you feel! I was really bummed after Boston – but 1 week later, I’m feeling better and happy again! I’m running and *finally* feel like myself. I’ve signed up for a couple of races so I’m hoping those help, too. What’s your next race??? xo

  28. I’m not a marathoner. I’m not even a half-marathoner (yet), and I sit here thinking, “Wow. Now I get it.”

    I’d always wondered what marathoners thought of the shorter distances. 5Ks, 10Ks, etc. I always wondered if my “measly little 5K” was just that to you and other marathoners: “measly little 5Ks”. But, reading this doesn’t make me sigh in relief that you don’t see them as nothing. It tells me that no matter the distance, there’s always something someone’s fighting. You find marathons “easier” in that you enjoy them more. Your heart is set on that distance. I never thought of the fact that in a 10-miler, you’re just getting into your groove when you finish. That can be frustrating. I always wonder if 5Ks end up boring for marathoners, but I think I’ve realized now that it’s not about boredom necessarily. It’s about our individuality and the our own emotional, spiritual, and physical attachments to running.

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  1. […] this isn’t the only response to the marathon, and Dorothy from Mile Posts has some very honest words about her post-marathon […]

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