How to beat the post-marathon blues

18 April 2017 by
First published: 23 April 2017

If you’re feeling down after the big event, take a tip from our expert on how to beat the post-marathon blues.

So you’ve been training for weeks for the London Marathon, planning the majority of your time around this huge event and making sacrifices along the way to ensure you perform at your best. The day comes and goes, then what? Whether the race went amazingly well, pretty average or simply awful, you’re bound to feel the post-marathon blues. It’s natural. Like the lead-up to any big life event, the climax builds and once it’s over, you’re left feeling a little bit deflated.

We spoke to sports psychologist Dr Carla Meijen to discover five fail-safe ways to cope if you’re feeling a little bit lost…


Take it easy! Your muscles are exhausted after months of training and, of course, the marathon itself. ‘After all these long runs and potential adjustments to your lifestyle it may feel strange to not do much, but remember to reward yourself after your achievement and look after your body,’ suggests Dr Meijen. Enjoy this time to socialise, catch up with friends, eat the pizza you’ve been craving and say yes to that glass of wine. Stay active by taking walks, swimming or yoga. Be kind to your body and give it the rest it deserves.

Find a new hobby

Start something new to take your mind off the race. ‘When exercising, it is important to do an activity that you enjoy, and endurance sports like running a marathon does come with specific demands – such as time commitments, motivation and pain management. If you feel this is not for you, focus on another activity you enjoy,’ says Dr Meijen. It could be anything from joining a weekly exercise class to cooking new recipes or doing something totally random every weekend! Where your life has revolved around running, you’ll have forgotten that there’s a whole bunch of other things to do out there. Go for it.

Blog about your experience

‘For some athletes, social support can be a useful tool to help you make sense of your experiences. Running a marathon is a big achievement, and it is quite likely that you’ll have sacrificed aspects of your normal day-to-day life for this.’ Writing about how you feel can be a useful way to vent feelings and blogging is the perfect way to meet others who are feeling the same. You could talk about the lead-up to the event, the day of the marathon, how you are feeling now and future training plans.

Set a new goal

Set yourself a new goal to work towards, Dr Meijen says. ‘Think back to where you started, and where you have got to. Use these experiences to set a new goal – which does not have to be another marathon!’ It could be running-related, or something totally different. Plan something long-term and break it down into four short-term goals. By doing this, you’re creating a target that will allow you to see progress month by month. We love the feeling of accomplishment, and having a goal to focus on keeps your mind motivated.

Keep training

Don’t stop doing what you love. You don’t HAVE to be training for something. Run because it makes you feel good, because it’s your therapy. Often when we become obsessed with something, we forget why we started it in the first place. Dr Meijen says, ‘You can look forward to going back to the short runs, and you can even notice the change from when you just started training for the marathon. You may find it refreshing to do those runs now the pressure of an upcoming marathon has gone, and enjoy the stress-free experience. You may want to explore some new running routes, or join a local club.’