One of the benefits of my blog continuing is once in a while I can retrieve a post I have written and use it as a filler on a new post. It this cheating , in a blogging sense, I’m not sure but can justify this practice as a lot of readers to the site are new and would probably have missed the post the first time round. Anyhow the post below describes the feeling all runners go through after successfully completing a ‘goal’ race, the ‘runners low’. After my insights into the runners low I have added an article on goal setting from one of my favourite runners Meb Keflezighi, whose book ‘Meb for mortals’ should be a staple diet for all runners. He is also a big Ellpitigo fan, albeit he is probably well paid to use the product.
I’ve got my Ellpitigo out of the garage for summer as I intend to use this as a new tool in my final push (?) for a sub 2:40 marathon at Perth in June this year. It’ll need to be perfect conditions but with the Elliptigo and a new pair of Nike Vaporflys 4% I hope to be in with a chance, being 51 in a few days this will be my last chance, surely?
Everybody talks about the runners high, this sense of euphoria one experiences when they cross the line at a major goal event. I’ve discussed what I feel it is, a sudden overwhelming sense of relief, or release, after you achieve something after putting yourself either under pressure or into the ‘pain box’. Anyway, after this ‘runners high’ you can sometimes come a cropper and experience what I term the ‘runners low’.
This feeling is the same in all sports and happens after achieving something you have worked so hard to do. There’s a classic scene (there are so many classic scenes in this movie of course.) in ‘Chariots of Fire’ when Harold Abrahams has just won the 100m gold and everybody else is celebrating while Harold himself is reserved and alone in the changing rooms. What Abrahams is struggling to come to terms with is success after so many years working towards that one 10 second race. All of a sudden he has no purpose, no target, no reason to do what he has been doing for so long. It must be daunting ?
The same can be true for us recreational marathon runners, albeit probably not as severe. Once we have completed the marathon and achieved the ‘runners high’ the next day all of sudden we have no goal. No reason to put in that early morning 5am start, no reason to double up or run a threshold until your lungs feel they are about to explode. There is no purpose after so many months of having something to achieve, a target to overcome. This feeling , coupled with the emotions of the previous few days of finishing a marathon, makes the runners high seem so long ago.
There is hope though and it as easy as getting on the internet and searching for the next goal, the next target, the next reason to structure a long term plan. Before you know it you’ve signed up for another race and it’s back on. Another phase begins towards another goal race which will probably have a target finish time just that little bit quicker than the previous race. Let’s face it we don’t do all this to slow down !
So my advice is to get back on the horse (so to speak, if you actually get on a horse you’ll probably get disqualified, remember this is a running blog!) and set yourself your next goal. It works for me, no off season, the next race is normally a few months away at worst but I know it’s there for me, waiting. Admittedly after a marathon I do feel low for a few days because I love to run marathons and the feeling you get when you finish one is why we do what we do. It has never let me down in 43 runs so far . (and the 20 ultra-marathons have also delivered of course)
Remember we are runners, we need a goal, something to make those 5am alarm calls worthwhile. What else is there to do at 5am in the morning anyway?
Another runner who understands goals is Meb Keflezighi who explains his thoughts in his excellent book ‘ Meb for Mortals’. One of my favourite reads and high recommended. Scott Douglas, from Runners World, has cheery picked some great insights from Meb in the article below.
Goals form your road map to success. You won’t get near your potential without having good goals. We’re wired as humans to dream of what might be and then figure out how to make that dream a reality.
This morning for the obligatory Sunday long run we were joined by another running group…