As you may have noticed it’s been a while since I last blogged on here – 2 months to be exact. After running my first marathon I felt like I really needed a break from blogging to relax for a while and let my body recover.
Over the last couple of months I’ve noticed a few changes, some subtle, others not so, which I thought would be good to write about for anyone wondering how running a marathon can affect your mind and body. That’s not to say this will be the same for everyone or even anyone, but I’ve personally been really surprised by some of the consequences of training for and running 26.2 miles. Of course there are loads of positives; amazing self-belief, a massive sense of achievement and everyone thinking you’re a superhero just to name a few, but instead I thought I’d touch on some of the not so great effects I’ve noticed…
- Losing my running mojo: I found the whole marathon experience a pretty tough one; from running 3-5 times a week and making sure my nutrition was on point, through to the actual race itself. I struggled with knee and hip pain quite a lot on the day and unfortunately this isn’t something which has gone away since. Over the past 8 weeks I’ve only been running twice and both times have stopped at 2km due to terrible pain on the outside of my knees, which results in bruising on the knobbly bits of my knees. I think this could be down to ITBS, but no amount of rest or self-massage seems to be doing the trick. I know a trip to the physio is on the cards, but I’ve been so lazy and unmotivated that it seems like wasted cash to me at the moment. I’m sure it’s normal to crave some downtime after putting your body through so much, but I’m really hoping I get that mojo back soon
- Mindlessness: I know mindfulness is all the rage right now, but sadly I haven’t had a surge in that over the past few months. Instead I’ve actually found it quite difficult to concentrate on tasks and find myself absentmindedly flitting from thing to thing, but unable to actually focus. I know there’s tons of research which links regular exercise to increased mental focus, but I didn’t really take this on board until I stopped exercising.
- Food, food, food: If you follow my Instagram or have read any of my recipes on here, you’ll know that I try and stick to a fairly healthy diet the majority of the time. This was definitely exaggerated during marathon training, where I tried to cut down on as much processed rubbish as possible and only indulged in the occasional sugary treat, choosing refined sugar free options where possible. Fast forward to today and my nutrition has taken a serious battering. It’s not that I’m inhaling pies and cakes left, right and centre, but for someone who was super healthy before, it’s quite a big change. I wouldn’t say that I’m unhealthy, but I’ve definitely had more crisps, chocolate and pizza over the past 8 weeks than the last 12 months combined. And that’s no bad thing! It’s good to give yourself a break every now and then, whether that means eating a bag of onion rings after a particularly horrendous hangover, or tucking into that Magnum on a super hot day (like, when do we ever have heatwaves in England?!)
- Weight gain: Ahhhh, extra pounds, how I love thee… when you’re in my bank account and not on my stomach and thighs. I’ve been trying not to pay too much attention to the scales, but there is a definite layer of squidge that wasn’t there when I was 42km into my marathon journey. I’m sure this will settle down as soon as I get back into some kind of routine, but for now I’m seeing it as a little more to love (and clothe.)
So perhaps this isn’t your typical post-marathon write up, but it’s an honest one! I loved my marathon journey and whilst I may have done a couple of things differently (foam-rolled x10) I don’t have any regrets and would do it again in a heartbeat. For now, I’m looking forward to the next challenge*!
*likely to involve this new beauty, Planet X Pro Carbon