Coping with PMWS- Post Marathon Withdrawal Syndrome. You are not alone.

It’s real y’all.

And I’ve got it.

If you’ve run a marathon, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

It’s the…


Now what.

There is a period of grieving after you finish a marathon. Honestly? It’s like a goddamn death. The idea was conceived, you nurtured your training and then you ran your marathon. You should be elated! Which you were. But now? It’s over. And you should feel free to grieve accordingly. You just spent months training for the Main Event. And then, in a few million blinks of an eye- DONE. Your medal sits quietly, on the coffee table, gathering dust after a mere 4 days. It’s ribbon neatly folded beneath. That medal longs for the moment the volunteer slapped her on your sweaty salty neck, and she became the Light of your Life. You waxed poetic about her all week, wearing her days after, talking about her to anyone who would listen. The barista at Starbucks.The check out chick at TJMaxx. The UPS Guy who just wanted to deliver your goddamn package. {Sigh.}

I feel your pain.

Just as in any grieving process, there are 5 Stages you will be going through. I suggest you sit tight, buckle up, grab a snuggie and a tumbler of wine and ride the waves. Just let it out, People. Let. It. Out.

1. Denial.  No way I just ran that marathon. Are you kidding me? After all that time?  All of those lost weekends?  All of the glasses of wine I declined because I “had a long run in the morning?” All those miles logged in conditions that would make a billy goat puke? AND IT’S OVER?  It’s Donezo?! NO. It can’t be over.


2. Anger. So. It’s really over now, isn’t it. So that was it, huh?! After all that bullshit running capped off with a trip to the ER and permanent facial scars AND I DIDN’T EVEN PR??? I ran a WHAT?? WHY ME!!! Screw you Boston Qualifier! SCREW YOU! YOU PROSTITUTION WHORE!


3. Bargaining. Shit. If only I had done more speed workouts, I would have PR’d. I promise next time I won’t blow off my hill repeats to get a pedicure, if I can just PR. Just this once. Please? I’ll run fartleks. I’ll do repeats. Tempo Runs. Strides. Pretty please???  WHATEVER IT TAKES!  I SWEAR. Can you HEAR me??? Is this thing on?? Who the hell am I talking to?


4. Depression. I can’t even move. And it’s not because my Baby Toes are necrotic. I am hopeless. Hollow. Despondent. Am I breathing? Mother? Somebody? Hold me.Image

5. Acceptance. Welp. I can sit here waiting for my toe nails to fall off, and wallow in a kiddie pool of regret and self-loathing, or I can wrap those piggies, throw on some sneaks and hop right back in the saddle.  Who said “over”? Nothing is over until I decide it is! That’s it. I’ve got the cure for what ails me. I’m pulling the trigger. I’m REGISTERING FOR MY NEXT MARATHON! And it’s gonna be fanfuckingtastic!Image

See? All better. Carry on.  🙂

53 thoughts on “Coping with PMWS- Post Marathon Withdrawal Syndrome. You are not alone.

  1. haha – love it! I haven’t really ever had that let-down, because with my first full marathon I had a half four weeks later, then it was winter! And since then I guess I have been lucky! But I have definitely seen it for the last month on a variety of blogs as we’ve been working through ‘spring marathon season’.

    • I’m running a hot ass Half Marathon in 4 weeks don’t get me wrong. But what about the fall??? When running in cool weather is my most favorite thing ever?!?! I have issues I realize. But STILL.

      I’m pulling the trigger this damn weekend. 🙂

  2. Put the entry form down. Walk away from and nobody gets hurt. Just kidding. I am in complete agreement with your plans especially Philadelphia. I may run the full or just the half depending on my visit next week with that eminent surgeon, Dr. Torn Meniscus. Did you know that when you get an MRI they send you a dvd of your knee film ? I can see nothing except grey shadows and blackness. Just the thing to pop into the old laptop and use as a screensaver – Yeesh. Anyway, I’m supposed to take it along to the Doc so he can tell me what I already know, it’s torn, and I need surgery. Stay tuned or as they used to say ” Film at 11.”

  3. Lighten up Colby! Don’t be so GD dramatic. Haha! I learned a while back to enjoy the recovery time after a full. Taking a couple weeks off of running everyday means I get to go to lunch like normal people do. That said, I do understand the emptiness from having a goal for months and months only to wake up one day to no goal – no driving force. On the plus side, I don’t think Mrs. Roper ever ran a marathon.
    BTW, the check out chick at TJMaxx says to tell you the hot pink hot pants you wanted are in.

  4. I was tempted to sign up for another marathon two weeks after the one I’d just done. I wanted a redemption race! Luckily my coach talked me out of it and I’m waiting until the fall.

    Now I want to know if you have any black-eyed race photos 😉

    • Fall is where it’s at!! I hear you about redemption! Fortunately, due to a lovely filter and a strategic selfie angle, you can’t see the remnants of my damn black eye. Or the scars above my lip. WINNER! 🙂

  5. Nicole, I always look forward to reading your stuff; you never disappoint! I truly think you should collect all these posts someday and turn them into a book (a la Carrie Bradshaw turning her columns into the same). I know many talented writers, people making a career of it, but your writing is right up there with theirs and so entertaining!

    I loved your VT recap and am so glad you enjoyed yourself in Burlington, especially after a taxing training season (I wrote a response to your hilarious post about Mother Nature a month or so back, and it somehow got lost in cyberspace, but I was so with you on the torturous, frigid training runs).

    Also, I’m so glad you’re healing after that god-awful fall. A good friend of ours just took a tumble on his bike and fractured an eye socket and broke his nose, so you have some good company. So many have done something similar.

    I wanted to make sure I wrote now because, in choosing your next marathon course, if you’re hoping for a Boston marathon qualifier, Baystate would be a good bet. Maybe the other two are just as flat and, I’m sure, more scenic (Lowell, MA is no great shakes), but I know for sure that Baystate is considered a fast course that a lot of people use to qualify for Boston. Mat and I did a half marathon there, and found it to be an easy. You may be way ahead of me here and already know all this!

    We’ll all look forward to another interesting post with your decision. Take care and don’t be afraid to relax for a little while! 🙂

    • You are so sweet Christina! You made me feel like A zillion bucks! I’m so bummed we didn’t get to see you both in Burlington! We tried like hell to get into Penny Cluse Cafe but the wait was stinking TWO HOURS. (I guess it was one stellar brunch. 🙂 ) Ouch! Your poor friend. That’s exactly what they thought happened to me. I’m lucky. And will be smoother, less scarred and visibly firmer after seeing my plastic surgeon. Mama didn’t raise no fool.

      My paws have been partially up all week. But tomorrow. I run.


  6. doooo it, sign up for another marathon! or that 50K, after all, that’s only a little less than 5 miles more!!!!

    I’m in SEVERE race withdrawal. I typically run at least one half marathon each month because I am crazy like that. My last one was 5/4. My next one isn’t until 7/13 because of marathon training. At least my next one is in a VINEYARD in Oregon’s Willemette Valley and when you cross finish line and get medal, they then hand you a wine glass and delicious delicious pinot noir.

    This thought (and my eventual SF Marathon Finisher jacket) is keeping me going.

    • Vineyard?!? Pinot Noir at the finish?!? Now that’s my kinda half!!!! Tina is running the Heartbreak Hill half next weekend and then we’re running The Hottest Half on Earth later this month together. Which will be followed by copious amounts of cocktails. Run hard. Celebrate hard. That’s my motto. 🙂

      I will be registering shortly. May flip a coin……

      • A coin flip is always good. 🙂 HA HAH A

        Fueled by Fine Wine. 🙂

        Then one month after the marathon the Lululemon SeaWheeze in Vancouver with my running partner in crime/BFF. Then we fly back to LA and run Disneyland. Should be a fun couple of weeks!

      • Oh and then the following Saturday I’m running the Ventura half with a bunch of buddies. And then I will collapse. lol Except not, because then USC football season will be in full swing and we are serious about our tailgating at USC.

  7. This is hilarious. I am running my first marathon in December (!!!!!). Is it weird that I am excited to feel all of these emotions? It’s like I am finally joining the exclusive club and can’t wait.

    • PULL THAT TRIGGER! I actually think I may stretch out of my comfort zone and do the VT50—the 50k. Why not, right? YIPES! (At least this is what I keep telling myself!) If not, Philly, Hartford or Baystate. All in the fall. Ahhhh. 🙂

      • Wow, 50k! That would be huge! I’ve heard of the other ones. I am thinking maybe Mount Desert Island (at Acadia in Maine). Not positive yet, but prob. It’s supposed to be beautiful!

      • I’ve read about Mount Desert Island! Acadia is beautiful. Hiked there a few years ago. And YES! It would be MASSIVE. I think I might. Right? What the hell. Not sure why I didn’t do all of this crazy shit 20 years ago. Oh right. Because I was living on beer, chicken wings and Cap’n Crunch.

        I almost forgot. 🙂

  8. Hillarious, but true! I felt empty, hollow and without a purpose after Boston.
    It’s such a build up to the big day. The closer it gets the more all consuming it becomes. And then…after a mear 4 hours give or take…it’s over. It’s like Christmas day when all the gifts are unwrapped. You feel bad that you didn’t spend enough time choosing someone’s gift that they obviously were not thrilled with. And you look at the pile that you have and don’t know what you’ll do with most of it. But all of the anticipation and excitement is over. It’s OVER.
    My next marathon is June 15th. I’m just running. No plans to try for a PR. I’ll run hard and if it happens that will be great. No big build up. This time it’s for fun. I’m not even training like i have a marathon coming up.
    Just like Christmas, when it’s over I’ll be ready to eat.
    Cheers – Andy

    • You nailed it on the head Andy! And you know, I bet you’re going to have a stellar race. Calm, cool, zero expectations. Those are the best races and times I’ve ever run!

      • This time it’s about the experience. It’s kinda a destination race. Who the hell runs a marathon in Down East Maine? And I get to spend a few days with my big sister.
        I’m looking forward to the time w/ my sister more than the race. We’ll both be bitching about our spouses! It will be so cathartic! LOL
        It’s sure to be a good time, in so many ways.

  9. Pingback: RACE GIVEAWAY: Jump into a Spartan Race and Reap the Rewards! | It's A Marathon AND A Sprint

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