ATM was coined by my #bff/brf Jocelyn – that glorious period all marathoners wait for when they get 3-4 hours of their weekend back and, presumably, a bit more time and energy to do things that you’ve put off because of running.
When I was “training” and “racing” (put in quotations as, let’s get real, I wasn’t vying for an Olympic medal or anything), the ATM period was one of my favorites. Free from any prescribed training plan, I could do what I pleased and, gasp, REST.
Here’s what I’ve learned after 6 marathons about this golden period:
1) Marathon Hunger Strikes One To Two Days Later: The day of the marathon I’m not super hungry. The day after and the day after that – CLEAR THE BUFFET.
2) Motrin Is Your Friend: I only discovered this last year. I was in the OR all day the day after NYCM last year and was manipulating the uterus during robot cases (you can google that if not sure what it is), which involves sitting in small spaces (if you’re me and they are center docking the robot). I got stiff. I took 600 mg motrin and I was a new person. I did this every 6 hours for a few days thereafter. Just don’t do this if you have kidney problems…
3) Your Return To Exercise Is Really Up To You: And, how you feel. After 6 marathons, I’ve run the gamut in terms of time off. I’ve taken anywhere from 3 days to 3 weeks off.
After Eugene, I ran the Wednesday thereafter because it was a most beautiful spring day and I couldn’t NOT go outside. So, I ran-walked 3 miles with lots of breaks. After New Jersey in 2011, I took 3 weeks off (2 planned then 1 extra because I got sick). After NYCM last year, I went to spin one week later (I mean, Charlee, who had yet to move back, was in town – how could I not go?).
What I would recommend is this: do not sit completely still. This will make things worse. Go on a walk tomorrow and another time this week. It will help loosen things up and make your return to running, spin, or whatever it is you choose to do a bit easier when that time comes.
Whatever you do, don’t go run or spin just because you see people on twitter or instagram back running again. They aren’t you. You are you. Do you.
4) You Are Likely To Get Sick: I’ve gotten sick after 3/6 marathons I’ve done – a viral illness. Your immune system gets slightly depressed after the stress of a marathon and BOOM! – you’ve got yourself a nice little virus.
[This may have also happened to me as some of my marathons were near tests in medical school so I would come back and basically study for a couple days straight i.e. not exactly ideal rest/recovery.]
5) You May Have No Motivation To Run OR You May Have All The Motivation In the World: I’ve had times where I didn’t want to run again for another month and I’ve had others where I ran 12 miles two weeks later (again, after Eugene, when running and I were on the most beautiful honeymoon in Fiji together).
If you’re not into running, that’s ok. You just dedicated your spare time to it for the last 12-18 weeks. Take a break! Try something different!
If you’re still into it, then you go girl (or boy).
6) Beware The Endorphin Fueled Next Race Sign Up: Its bound to happen. You feel so buzzed now that you give your credit card over to active.com for race entry fees. Just beware this phenomenon.
TELL ME: HOW’D YOUR RACE GO? HOW WAS IT WATCHING?
It looked cold from the confines of my bed where I slept 16 hours last night, just 10 shy of a sleep marathon.
Until next time…