You have reached the last one of these articles… and hopefully completed your marathon too. 🙂 So, how did it go? Remember that in the hours and days immediately afterwards, emotions are high. You may be riding the crest of a wave, or are in the pits of despair.
Post Race Reflections
Once you have had that shower, eaten, slept, showed everyone your medal and analysed all that lovely data, what’s next? Probably the most effective use your time (with the exception of enjoying a few more of those well earned beers and pizzas) after the race is spent on reflection. Your body is battered, but hopefully not too broken, so use the time to truthfully assess your performance and how closely it matched your expectations.
It may seem unimportant once the race is over, but if you ever plan to return to a similar endeavour, this opportunity is golden to help you learn and make changes to things that did not go well, or retain those things that did go well.
Here are a few prompts to help you focus your thoughts.
- On a scale of 1 to 10, (1 = poor, 10 = exceptional), how would you rate this performance? Why did you rank it as such?
- If your performance, did not match your expectations, what were the reasons for that? (Fitness? Underestimation of the distance/ course?)
- What were the weather conditions for the race? What specific preparations did you make for these conditions (hydration, clothing, etc.)? Were these preparations adequate?
- What was your warm-up routine for the race? Was it effective?
- What was your race strategy? Did it work? Why or why not?
- What decisions did you make before or during the race that helped your performance?
- Which decisions/ thoughts hindered your performance, if any?
- Anything else about the race, positive or negative, you feel is important?
- What is the biggest lesson you learned from this race?
Using these simple prompts (for any race) will help you frame your thoughts regarding what you want to do next. It is also important to pick out the things that you have the power to change and improve. You have no influence over the weather, but you can influence how you prepare for this the next time.
Recover and Refresh
Once you have put your thoughts to one side, you should invest as much time in recovery as you put into training for the event. “Active recovery” works well, but 10 easy miles on Tuesday morning is not recovery!
Swim easy, spin gently, but don’t think the body will be fully recovered just because you had a few post race burgers. Build your body back up slowly, and make sure that you take it steady. You have built up phenomenal fitness over the past 16 weeks, and it would be a shame to break yourself straight after. Make the most of that free social time you have now and sacrificed for training. Meet your family and friends, show them your medal and tell them about “the time your ran a marathon…”. They’re proud of you and will love to hear the story, blisters, black toe nails and all. Promise.
And with that we wrap up our “Marathon Monday’s” series.
Many thanks to Chris Ashford and Christine Bertram for putting these articles together, and congratulations to Kevin Oakes and Nathan Smith and all the other wonderful BRAT runners for representing the club at this amazing race.
Remember if you want an entry for next year’s London Marathon, make sure you keep an eye on social media and the website for when the lottery opens! There will most likely also be club places available, but you HAVE to enter the lottery and not be allocated a place to be eligible for one of them.