Hello everyone! Welcome to another running article!

What I’m about to tell you might discourage you from running a marathon. But don’t let it do that.

I’ve fallen in love with marathon racing. And when you race a marathon, you put your body to its maximum pace it can handle over that distance.

Or, at least that’s the goal.

As you maintain that pace throughout the distance, you'll recognize when you reach the finish line. Your body should be kaput and done.

I felt that on this past marathon in Asheville, North Carolina.

Here are the exact words I told my wife the second I got in the car: “I can even feel my teeth vibrating.


Turns out that when you push your body to its extreme limit and then suddenly return it to a normal state, your body doesn’t know what the heck to do and goes into a state of shock.

It doesn’t know what is wrong, but it can only assume something is wrong.

My main symptoms were feeling cold, nauseous, and like my entire body was vibrating. Eventually, the shock wore off…after about 1000 calories worth of Coca-Cola.

It wasn’t until later that day the hunger finally set in. I burned almost 3000 calories so I had a lot of eating to do to catch up. And after a quesadilla, a large pizza, more coke, popcorn, and cookies, I think I did pretty well.

However the next day I was still down 4 pounds, haha! Don’t worry, I’ve gotten it back.

But going into shock post-marathon is pretty common. But later that next day, I discovered another common occurrence: the post-marathon blues.

The Blues

That sounds a lot better than post-marathon depression.

It was a strange feeling for sure. I just felt kind of down, but more than just an off day. I was bummed out and had little to no motivation to do much of anything. I also felt a spike in my anxiety levels and was just frustrated.

After a quick Google, I found that the post-marathon blues are pretty common too.

It can be equated to a similar feeling you may have after a vacation, a long holiday, or even after finishing that long TV show. That feeling of…what now?

But it’s also a bit more than that too. See, running, like most exercise, releases endorphins. Those endorphins are some great things and can carry you through the day better than caffeine ever will.

However, the dark side is that our bodies are great at adapting. And so when you are in peak marathon training season, you run almost every single day. So your body gets used to that rush of endorphins every single day.

So to go from high endorphins every day, to being still and not moving much, your brain gets off balance. Match that with the feeling of “it’s over…now what?” and you’ve got yourself a classic case of post-marathon blues.

What’s the Cure?

For me, one thing that helped was allowing myself to relax. Allowing myself a week of eating whatever I wanted and playing video games. And not feeling guilty about it. This at least helped lower my anxiety.

Another thing that always helps me is just ensuring I spend time with the Lord. I couldn’t run, but I could at least walk.

Going on a nice walk with the dog in the morning and just praying to the Lord while taking in the magnificent painting He chose to display in the morning sky can make any case of the blues go away.

Photo by Dawid Zawiła on Unsplash

After a week, I was feeling better. I had my next race picked out, my next training block set, and my motivation started returning. All the junk food was making me feel bad and I was ready to start eating healthy again.

The Return

But let me tell you, I was a little nervous about that first run back. What if it feels awful? What if I’m slower than I thought? What if…what if…what if…

In reality, it felt amazing! My legs had missed it; as wild as it sounds.

Why do I tell you any of this?

Is it to convince you to run a marathon?

I mean, maybe ;)

But I think these truths and experiences carry over into normal life too. Every aspect of life.

Running is like Burnout?

Weirdly, training and racing a marathon is a lot like experiencing burnout.

Towards the end of a long training block, the runs start to lose their enjoyment. You have to start digging deeper and deeper to hold on to that joy we’ve talked about. It doesn’t come as naturally as it once did.

But then you finish, you end it, and you rest.

And the point is…rest is important. Sometimes we have a hard time with rest. It feels wrong, maybe we feel guilty, or a rise in anxiety.

I’ve done this on week-long beach trips before. “Oh I have a week off work, I should still do something productive. I have extra time to work on side projects or write.And then I get filled with anxiety and my restful week is no longer restful.

It’s the same thing as the post-marathon blues.

The cure?

Allow yourself to rest, do all the things you didn’t have tiem for, and eat all the things you couldn’t, OR…do nothing at all. It doesn’t matter!

The point is resting is important! Allow yourself to rest; don’t get consumed with what to do during “rest.” We have all heard that God created the world in 7 days.

And whether you believe that or not, you cannot deny we humans use a calendar that divides weeks into 7 days.

Here is something neat about the creation story though. We’ve heard it say that God created for 6 days and then rested on the 7th.

So we decided to take that pattern and work for 6 days so we earn our 7th day of rest.

But if we look back at the creation narrative, what did the humans experience? Genesis tells us that humans were made on the 6th day.

That means that for humans, our first full day on earth was the day of rest…then we got to work.

And that is what I felt when I started that run again. I rested for a week and when I ran again, it was amazing! My motivation was high and I was excited to be back at it!

So if your motivation for <fill in the blank> is low, maybe the best thing you need is some guilt-free time off.

The worst thing we can do is keep pushing it off and procrastinate. Procrastination makes us feel guilty; it raises anxiety and is the opposite of rest. Nothing gets done…including rest.

Perhaps we’ll do a deeper dive into procrastination on another day.

But in the meantime, allow yourself some guilt-free planned rest, and see what happens to your motivation!

Until next time, run with joy!