It is now a little over 3 weeks since I ran the Berlin Marathon, and running since then has been nothing but....unexpected. pure. bliss!
I promised myself a week off post marathon, but on the sixth day I found myself pulling on my old trusty trainers and heading out for a good, solid 5 miler. A couple of days later I was back enjoying a pre-work morning run in the rain, and after that, having a very unexpectedly fast 6 miler with the Sweatshop Running Club. This post marathon fun running has been really rather surprising, particularly when I thought I would be lying on the sofa until at least January or mourning the loss of any goals to aim towards.
But then thinking about it, is it really any wonder? Now that the seemingly never-ending marathon training is over, I can do what I want, when I want! I can go out in the morning or the night time; today, the next day or the day after that if I feel like. I can go running for 10 miles or 3. I can even, much like I did this weekend, not go at all and drink coffee on the sofa while reading the papers.
Without the looming pressure of finish lines and finish times, I can get back to the enjoyment of running for pure unadulterated FUN (yes non-running readers, it sounds bonkers but this is actually a 'thing').
Don't get me wrong, I love having a goal race to aim towards. I love the challenge of bettering myself over absurdly long distances and I love the kick up the bum that a race gives you to get out there and push yourself to go even further than you could ever possibly conceive. And I have still spent a worrying amount of time in the last three weeks researching new races to do (including marathons, but don't tell anyone that bit).
But after completing two marathons in two seasons, I feel like I've been training all year - probably because I have. This continuous running along with all the injuries during the summer meant I felt really disheartened towards the end of my Berlin training, and if I'm honest I'd lost sight of 'why' I was running anymore. I remember thinking as I plodded around the streets in Berlin for the second time, 'haven't I proved my point yet?'
So I'm glad to find I seem to be falling back in love with running, just for the sake of pounding the streets, getting out in the fresh air, clearing my head and basically feeling like I'm flying.
If you've just finished training for a goal and feel a little bit lost post race, I can thoroughly recommend going on a tiny little race hiatus.
I like it. A LOT.