Thursday, March 7, 2013

Post-Traumatic Marathon Disorder (PTMD)


Completing a marathon, regardless of the final outcome, is a huge achievement.  Anyone who has ever done one is likely familiar with the amount time that goes into training and planning for a 26.2 mile race.  "A lot" is almost an understatement.  Immediately following a marathon, I tend to feel elated, exhausted and relieved as I'm walking around high-fiving and/or hugging my fellow runners.  But, once I've re-grouped and the notion that it's truly over begins to sink in, I start to feel a bit off, like I'm not quite sure what to do with myself.  For several months leading up to a marathon, a runner's lifestyle (eating, sleeping, etc.) changes as their training becomes a primary focus.  When this cycle comes to an end, with the race itself being the final stage, I, personally, find myself dealing with marathon 'aftershocks', so to speak.  Having run six marathons, I no longer panic when these intense and often strange feelings start to swell up.  I remind myself that life, as I know it, will continue to go on as it always has and eventually, I assure myself, I'll start to feel like my old self again.  I have, however, noticed a distinct group of signs that help me detect the onset of this disorder.  My hope is, by sharing these, I can provide some relief to other runners out there who are in the same boat.  It's a bumpy ride, people.  Might as well be prepared.

PTMD: 10 Signs for Early Detection

1. Every time you walk by your race shoes you find yourself saying, "no guys, not today".

2. When you open your closet to put on "normal" clothes you a) can't decide what to wear and b) don't recognize most of the items that you are looking at.

3. Every time you go to the bathroom you find yourself checking the color of your urine to make sure you're hydrated.

4. Your husband suggests Thai food for dinner and you start to panic because you're not sure whether it has enough carbs and/or that it will be easy to digest without causing cramping the next day.

5. Your mid-day coffee, usually a post-workout treat, doesn't taste as good as it normally does and you're guessing it's because you haven't earned it.

6. Every time you see a runner on the street you feel annoyed, jealous and relieved all at the same time.

7. You still have an insane amount of energy at 9:00 at night and you have no idea what to do with it.

8. Every song you hear on the radio is good or bad based only on whether or not you can run to it.

9. You're still checking the 10 day weather forecast every morning and you get excited when you see sunny and 45 on the horizon.

10. When you get short with your kids or husband they ask you when you plan to start running again.

These symptoms tend to start 1-2 days after the marathon and can last up to a week.  I hate to tell you this, but there is no cure.  You just have to ride it out and then....well, then I guess you start planning your next marathon.


Listen to this:
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Sacrilege
Sacrilege - Mosquito (Deluxe Version)
Note: Expected release of this album is 4/16.  Oh boy!


  1. Oh man!! I already have most of these symptoms and I'm still working on post half-marathons... MCM will be my first this October so I am "kind of" looking forward to all these things!

    1. It's a very bizarre combination of both excitement and dread that happen at the same time. And for some reason, we keep coming back to it. Best of luck on your upcoming marathon!

  2. I have most of these feelings and nothing to do with post marathon. my craziest is when i don't have the opportunity to run, but i see someone else who jealousy is almost embarassing...