Recovery position

medal t shirt1

Been there, run that, got the T-shirt. And the medal.

It’s quite a niche mental health problem, all things considered, but Post-Marathon Blues syndrome exists. At least, it is a thing in my small circle. I suppose it could be applied to any big event, for which you’ve trained, rehearsed, prepared over a long period.

With marathons, the training period is usually 16 weeks, for fun runners like me. So for those weeks you try to maintain a schedule, keep alcohol consumption down, sleep levels up. You run in all weathers, during dark winter mornings before the rest of the city was up. It’s always on your mind, this marathon thing.

Then afterwards, life feels a little empty for many marathoners, even if you’ve run the best race of your life and you’re sitting smugly on your PB, as I was last year.

This year, though, for me, the training and preparation did not help. I think I woke up on the morning of 24 April and knew I would not run the time I had in mind (3:37).

Brace yourself for the excuses. My ongoing ear problem had become dizziness and a slight issue with balance, although I did not fall over during the race. I did frequently feel lightheaded (I have since been diagnosed with a perforated eardrum and referred for treatment).

I suffered with cramp from mile 16 and worst of all I find to my horror that I was actually panting even when I tried to stick to my slowest allowable pace (8.35 min/miles), so the plan to work up to my fastest possible pace (8.10m/m) was dead in the water from the half marathon stage.

I struggled through, it was not pretty, but I managed 3:49.03, which, at least, is Good For Age for over 40s (and as a 53 year old, I can be pleased with that).

My Good For Age rating still gives me a place in the London Marathon for 2017, for which I should be duly grateful. I am.

So, recovery. It is much more important for runners of the senior variety, so I have been limiting running to a non-pressured parkrun with friends and taking my usually Run Club classes, plus my duties as a PT. I have been sitting on my arse a lot.

As luck would have it I have a half marathon on Sunday, one of my favourites, the always lively Hackney Half (bad recovery planning, but I had a media place) and an Assembly League 5km with my club tonight, which I predict I will run very slowly, whether I plan to or not.

Then I will go to give blood, and take some weeks out from running before I try to sort out this dispiriting dip in form. While I do that, I will research and make a plan.

No need to feel blue. I am still Marathon Gran. I am still Good For Age, but I need to take some life lessons from those senior women like Angela Copson (3:24 Manchester Marathon 2016 and first in her age category, which is V65.

Now there’s your role model.


6 thoughts on “Recovery position

  1. Mark Morreau

    Ah Ronnie, it’s such a thing. I used to get it when performing. The show’s over. The blues kick in. But I think you’re amazing. 12 minutes outside your target time running with a perforated eardrum. C’mon!! Cut yourself some slack!! You also finished about 3/4 hour faster than the other ex-Darts runner, Keith Watson. So you are the official exDarts Marathon Champeeeen!

    I’m gonna run it with you next year.

    And we’re going to drink coffee together in the next couple of weeks during your down-time. It’ll be downtime for me too.

    PS I know Sylvester Stein, the doyen of all ancient athletes. Just googled him to find he’d died. Oh well:

    1. Ronnie Haydon Post author

      Thanks Mark. Are you really? That would be marvellous! We could spend all Sheffield reunions bleating on about schedules and negative splits! I would love to take up a bit of your downtime….I am just going to hit that link and read all about Mr Stein. I am still on a mission to grill Angela Copson, and also have my nosey parker sights set on a role model closer to home, Dulwich Runner Clare Elms, who is not only preternaturally speedy (and around my age) but also extremely attractive and pleasant to boot.

  2. Rhonda Stafford

    A terrific run Marathon Gran, but sorry you had those issues. Your run time I can only dream of. I’m slightly older (57) and just ran an abysmal Paris Marathon. Missed my mark by a long shot, but finished it. We more senior runners must be grateful for the health & well being and the desire and ability to be able to train consistently. There’s an awful lot of our non-exercising peers who don’t even get close. I actually ran this after major surgery 40 weeks prior: managed to complete the training plan but perhaps under powered. Onwards and upwards to the next one!

    Enjoy your break and the regrouping. I enjoy your blog and was looking forward to this edition. Regardless of time you are my role model :). Angela is pretty good too!
    Older runner in Oz.

    1. Ronnie Haydon Post author

      Absolutely right, Rhonda. Many people have told me to ‘cut myself some slack’ and one younger man, hitherto delighted with his sub 4, looked downright crestfallen when I started banging on about my ‘disappointing time’. I should perhaps get a life. Thank you for commenting, and keep on running (and recovering)…


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