New marathoners often expect the elation they feel when they cross a finish line to last forever. In fact, that’s rarely the case, says Brad Alexander, whose Tiny Buddha article, “You Will Not Be The Same Person When You Achieve Your Goal,” informs us that life will be anything but the same.

Your achievement impacted your mind as much as it did your body—and it matters not whether you won. After all, according to the Chinese Proverb,

“The journey is the reward.”

So, what should someone basking in the glow of post-marathon glory do when that marathon morphs from prep to victory? That’s where we come in—explaining why you feel the way you do and how to use this as a stepping stone to the next chapter of your highly-successful life.

What’s the new you?

Why did you set that marathon goal? Did you want to get fit, lose weight, impress someone or turn a corner after experiencing a life-altering event? You may be surprised to learn that the change you experience as a result of crossing that finish line surpasses those mundane goals.

Without realizing it, you became a repository of discipline and willpower, says Alexander.

Proving to yourself that you’re capable of accomplishing what you once thought impossible means your next challenge won’t be as daunting because you’ve proven yourself—to yourself!

Don’t be surprised if the decisions you make change, too. That often comes about as a direct result of the confidence you’ve acquired. In sum, all things are possible. You’ve already proved it.

Photo Credit: 123RF

What will you do next?

Self-made U.S. millionaire Paul Scolardi knows a thing or two about swimming against the tide and goal setting. Like marathon runners, he pushes himself to win, not lose.

But when he lost, he learned lessons that continued to serve him well and led to his amazing financial success—success he loves to share with others.

Scolardi says that “there are four things you should do as soon as you feel like you’ve achieved success,”:

  1. Stay humble. Get cocky after a great marathon finish and it will come back to bite you in the butt!
  2. Set bigger goals. Make that half-marathon a great memory by opting for a full one next time around.
  3. Work harder. Make every mistake a learning lesson as you build on each race experience in healthy ways.
  4. Ignore haters. Resentful souls may be jealous of your marathon finish. That’s their problem, not yours!
Photo Credit: 123RF

What to do when the glow wears off

Those endorphins—can you get enough of them? Of course not. They charge through your body like marauding Ninjas and you want to maintain that feeling of euphoria forever.

But when all of those endorphins are expended, you could be left feeling like anything but the conquering hero you were when you crossed the finish line. That’s why it’s important to prepare for marathon aftermath.

Ever heard of post-achievement depression? It feels like you’re Alice falling through the rabbit hole in the Lewis Carroll classic, “Alice in Wonderland.”

Pair a big helping of adrenalin with those endorphins and you could wind up with what Dr. Eileen Kennedy-Moore calls “Post-Adrenaline Blues”. Is there a cure? Of course, says Kennedy-Moore. She recommends following this prescription:

  • Understand that the feeling is temporary.
  • Treat your mind and body to nutritious food.
  • Get adequate rest.
  • Continue to exercise daily.
  • Connect with fellow runners and friends.
Photo Credit: 123RF

How to quash Post-Achievement Depression and Post-Adrenaline Blues

While you’re coming down from your marathon high, give yourself permission to lavish yourself with praise for your accomplishment and do so boldly and without reservation.

Battle the fear monster that may have moved into your brain—the dude that says, “You’ll never do it again.” What does he know? He’s never run a marathon!

Importantly, get started on your next marathon conditioning programme so you have a running goal that offers you hope, excitement and an accomplishment date that you’ll work hard to meet. Take these steps:

  1. Set a new distance goal.
  2. Adjust your conditioning programme accordingly.
  3. Solicit feedback on your technique.
  4. Return to your training diet.
  5. Adopt a new cross-training method.
  6. Sign up for that longer marathon!

Once you’re back on track, you’ll realise that you got through that post-marathon period wiser, saner and with a clearer head. This can be contagious. You may infect fellow runners in ways that could make you a bigger hero if you help them through their own post-marathon battle.

How do you deal with mood swings that wash over your mind once those marathon endorphins pack up and leave your head? We’d love to share your tips with our readers!

Liam Cayton

Liam is a competitive triathlete who have competed in more than 50 races around the world. He is an expert in performance coaching and holds a master's degree in applied sport and exercise psychology. He began training for his first marathon after graduating from college. As an accredited triathlon coach, he wished to share his journey of pushing over the limits. Furthermore, he is a statistician specialised in the Sports statistics and analytics.

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