by Michelle Jezycki, Hyland’s Masters Athlete
Celebrating an achievement such as crossing the line at the Boston Marathon is a magical moment! The aches, pain and bouts of negative thoughts trying to creep into your mind suddenly disappear when you make that left turn onto Boylston! The crowds, sounds, emotions run right to the surface as you seemingly glide down the last straight away to the historic finish line. A few things to keep in mind after you receive your medal would be 1) Hydrate/replenish, 2) Celebrate! and 3) Have a Plan!
1) Regardless of how your nutrition went (or didn’t) it is easy to get caught up in the exuberance of the finish line and forget to begin replenishing your nutrients. Your body performed for you, take care of it by putting some calories and fluids back into it! Protein within 30 minutes of your finish will help to feed the muscles and help fill the hole you may be feeling in your stomach after the sport drinks, gels and chews! Water, as much as you may not feel like drinking it, will help rehydrate you post race. (Adult beverages are fun too, but keep the water coming as well
2) Celebrate with your friends, family, teammates! You have completed a bucket list item that many people can only dream of! Your months and months of training and preparation have paid off and the celebration is your reward! Share your stories of the course with those who supported you!
3) “Have a Plan!” This oftentimes is the most under-addressed segment of the preparation some runners are surprised by. Your mind and body have been in “go” mode for months on end. You have accomplished your goal, crossed the line but have this sense of : now what? I recommend being prepared for your body’s response and mind’s questioning as it is nearly inevitable.
Sports psychologists will confirm there is a sense of the “Marathon Blues” many of us will experience. These emotions physiologically and otherwise may seem confusing. I recommend anticipating it by making a plan to have something to look forward to and keep focused on. This does not necessarily have to be another race. It could be a group happy hour or brunch with the friends you may have had to turn away due to training conflicts. It could be helping someone else go from couch to 5k or 5k to 10k, etc…that you may now have inspired due to your marathon finish. Whatever it may be, expect it before the start line and begin to make plans that will keep you focused on the “what’s next!”
Our bodies and minds are amazing machines! Celebrate that as well as your race and CONGRATULATIONS!!