Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 19 years ago, I lost the life I once knew, but in the process re-created a better me. I am alive and functional today because of my dog, my treatment team, my sobriety, and my willingness to re-create myself within the confines of this illness. I hate the illness, but I'm grateful for the person I've become and the opportunities I've seized because of it. I hope writing a depression blog will reduce stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of people with mental illness. All original content copyright to me: etta. Enjoy your visit!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Guarding against post marathon let-down

I've heard about it, and now I think I may be feeling just the beginning of it, maybe. Post-marathon depression. Does that sound familiar to anyone? I'd love to know your story if you've got one, as I don't think there is much written on the subject. I'm feeling a little let-down, a little droop in my mood. I'm trying to guard against a big post-event plunge partly by just being aware of it. Other than that, I'm not sure what to do.

I'm guessing that focusing forward will help. That's why I'm already thinking about my next goal. In fact, I'm thinking about another marathon! Given the result of this race, I'm convinced I can run a better race by fixing some of the weaknesses of this training bout.

Running more miles on fewer pounds are two of the weaknesses I can easily address. For example, I only ran around 30 miles per week. Running at least 40-45 miles would give me a more competitive base. And then there are these 10 extra pounds I'm lugging around. I certainly will run better if I lay off the chocolate...but I LOVE chocolate! Fixing these weaknesses will make a big difference in a race--any race.

Racing--that's another thing I plan to keep doing to guard against post-marathon depression. I want to take advantage of my current condition, and stay motivated to improve my condition by signing up for more races. I hope racing more often will help keep this one race in perspective. After all, it was just one race.

Other than that, I think I'll keep talking to all of you. Since I began this blog 18 months ago, my depression has steadily improved. Coincidence? I don't know, but if it ain't broke, don't fix it!
Have a good day everyone!


Anonymous said...

Once again, I continue to be impressed by you! Another marathon? Wow! But, hey, you're ready, right? Come do Chicago's in the fall! It's great here.

Anyway, although I've never run a marathon I can understand the post-event let down. I'm going through that myself right now. I find comfort in family. Being that my family is 300 miles away I need to travel often. We just got back yesterday... so I'm going through withdrawl. ugh...

Dave said...

The post marathon period is always the worst time for me, and I haven't found a solution yet. I'm thinking that having a training plan in place for another, shorter race will be my next strategy. I've run five marathons, and the immediate aftermath is always the worst.

David said...

When I won a state championship in chess, I felt a wave of sadness. The emotion of having defeated my opponents so soundly drained me, and in fact I quit playing for more than 2 months.

So you're not alone :).

Anonymous said...


Yeah, it's me again. Yes, post-mary blues are real, and I feel them every single time. Don't worry, you're completely normal in that regard. Here's my take:

Being a very goal-oriented person, the marathon scheduled on my calendar gives me focus, determination and a reason to train. Without it, I'm left to my own ability of discipline and resolve. That just doesn't move me quite like having something on the schedule does. I simply HAVE to register for a race as quickly after the marathon as possible.

Here's what I recommend: Find another race. Maybe a half marathon or 10/15k nearby that takes place in the next 5 weeks or so. Come up with a training plan for it, and work the plan. Jumping into another full mary will still require at least (depending on the person) 8-12 weeks of training, and that's a tall order after you just completed one. Likely, you could hammer out a half mary or 15k quickly. It would give you a goal to shoot for, a reason to train, and something to look forward to.

I think that will help. It always helps me. :)

Let me know what you decide to do, ok?


T said...

I just found your blog by googling post-marathon depression. I just ran my first marathon in Chicago 10days ago, and I'm frantically trying to set my next goal before this funk gets too bad. I also have a long history of depression (20 years), and am finally in a place in my life where I can maintain a healthy outlook through running therapy alone.

So I think the way to beat my post-event blues is to keep signing up for races and set new goals (better time; increase the amount of strength training). I also need to get together with my running pals soon. I feel like we all worked so hard together for several months, achieved this monumental first with each other's support and then suddenly went back to our separate lives. I want to keep living the dream! My only worry is that my body doesn't recover quickly enough-- because mentally I'm ready to race again.

Good luck to you. I'll be sure to check your blog often!

stephanie said...

I, also, found your blog by googling post marathon depression! thank you for your honesty, transparency, and courage to share your story. it is through connecting with others who can understand our circumstance that brings us the support we most need.

i just finished my first marathon and i am so sad. i guess i just didn't expect to be sad. It's comforting to know that this is a common occurance and that, with proper attention, it will pass.

thank you for sharing!

etta said...

To all of you:
If it makes a difference, this post is one of my most popular posts. It is googled more than almost all the others, so obviously post marathon depression is very real and perhaps very troubling to many, many people.

All of the suggestions above, I think, are great. Thank you all.

Any other thoughts always appreciated!

Slinc said...

Hi Etta,

Thanks so much for your story and your words of support regarding post-marathon depression. I thought that I was past the hump as I felt no real symptons during the first week post-marathon (and this is marathon #3 for me). However, weeks 2 and 3 post-marathon have been difficult. I am not prone to depression or the kind of sadness that I am feeling at present. It is disconcerting and I'm trying to pull through. Hopefully a solid Turkey Trot and some races in December will help me surmount this sad fog! I hate feeling this way. But blogs like yours and the stories of others give me comfort and hope that I can surmount this challenging time.

Many thanks again.

Unknown said...

Well, I had my 1st Marathon on 8th November, here, in Athens, Greece. During the race I was feeling exhilarated, smiling at every spectator on the route, although I was having serious diarrhea problems I had to deal with! Eventually, I managed to cross the finish line, together with my good mood…!
Since then, almost 2 weeks now, my mood is going from bad to worst… The only thing I do is go to work, which unfortunately is obligatory. When I go back home, I just sit on the sofa, eating chocolate mainly and watching tv. Every time I look at my finisher medal, I wonder how on earth did I manage to do that thing… I have completely forgotten my strong will and excellent stamina of those days.. it seems so distant!
This morning I thought of the Google search machine and I came across numerous articles on the matter. Ok, it made me feel better and all thoughts like “Why do I feel like this, I was supposed to be happy and content after this…” seem less odd. Also, I’ve read all the reccommended actions I should take from now on, “Set new goals, Eat healthy, Go out with friends, etc” BUT what about if I don’t want to do any of these?
I don’t know… it just looks so vain…

Rob said...

It's been two days since my last marathon (my 12th). I was hoping to beat my spring time of 4:18 but actually ran a 4:40 despite more training. I understand that sometimes people have bad races.
I have a history of dysthymia and am prone to depression. I really hate my job and had a third interview for a job last week but it seems that I did not get it since I have not heard back. To top it all off I have a migraine from the weather. My family is not really supportive of my running. They don't understand that the reason I stopped using Paxil is because I started running. I'm sorry that I sound like such a moron but I'm just in a downward spiral right now with no end in sight.

etta said...


Perhaps going back on the Paxil would make a lot of sense. Read my posts about medication. There is no need to stop using your meds in order to run. I take several meds, and I still run quite successfully. Good luck and take good care of yourself.

Anonymous said...

I ran my first marathon a week ago and was totally unprepared for the let-down that has followed. I think that a large part of it is that a major organizing principle has been removed from my life. I also read somewhere that studies have been done showing lower choline levels in post-marathoners. Maybe there's a physiological basis, so I just went out and bought lecithin, maybe it will help. Great to know I'm not alone. Thanks!