Dealing with disappointment



  • DL wrote (see)
    I've tried lots of things in life that haven't worked out - some just aren't for me, some I might try a few times and then reject, others I might persevere at because they're doing something positive for me. It doesn't mean I've failed - that's a really harsh word - the experience just didn't live up to my expectations! You have to decide if the marathon 'does something for you'. If it does, great, once you've gotten over the disappointment give it another go, if it doesn't, move forward .....
    Very very well put.
  • DL

    yes nicely put

    running can greatly improve lifestyle in many ways

    including making one pyhsically fit and feel good

    but it doesnt mean one has to achieve marathon distance

  • Helen,

    I've been a "lurker" on Vik's thread so have followed your progress image A similar thing happened to me in VLM 2010 - should have had a sub-5 but got to about 15 miles and pace deteriorated much as you describe yours did. For me I don't know why it happened and I can only guess that there are so many components to good marathon training that it could have been any one of them - pacing, nutrition, hydration, etc, etc, etc. But you will get over it, think of what you have achieved and you were so close to a sub-5 you have every chance of having another stab at it. I did 5:31 in 2010 and after hitting the wall in my first 20 mile training run for Edinburgh I've decided to aim for sub 5:15 rather than the comfortable sub-5 that my HM times predict. A tough decision to make (I want that sub-5!!) but I think the right one for me. I hope you come back stronger and enjoy racing some shorter distances over the next few months until your motivation returns.
  • JoolskaJoolska ✭✭✭

    As others have said, if the marathon isn't for you and you enjoy halves and 10ks more, do halves and 10ks.  I don't think anyone would dare tell Mo Farah he's not a proper runner because he focuses on halves and 10ks!

    In terms of recovering from a bad marathon, I've had one shocker, Koeln (October 2010).  Theoretically in the shape of my life and a decent shout at sub 3.  Reality was I messed up my nutrition and hydration in the days beforehand and then had to deal with the race starting at 11.45am on a hot day.  Stupidly didn't adjust my time goal and so hit 10k on pace but by halfway was well off pace (1.35).  Tried to drop out but no-one who spoke English or French (only languages I can manage!) knew how I would get to the finish in those circumstances.  Ran/walked the second half, ending with a personal worst and mild heatstroke.  Physically I was fine within days; emotionally, a mess.  London this weekend will be the first time I've raced a marathon since then and I wouldn't have been ready to race a marathon any earlier.  I spent last year doing different stuff, including my first ultra, and by the end of the year running was back to being something I loved again.  A change is as good as a rest, so don't contemplate a marathon unless and until you want to.

  • Thanks to everyone who's responded so openly. While it's not something I'd wish on anyone, it's most reassuring to hear I'm not the only one to have had a less than perfect day in the office - and from people vastly more experienced than I.

    I am feeling better about it all today. I'm in the busy office and collecting sponsorship. People have been asking to see the medal and being suitably awe struck. This has reminded me of how few people have run a marathon, and I'm beginning to see it is an achievement. They're all saying how impressed they are I finished and how they bet I must be pleased, and that is beginning to rub off.

    I have to say that in the preparation, I'd never considered the idea that I might have a less than ideal race day. I'd only had 2 "bad" long runs in training - and one could be put down to the weather. It had never crossed my mind that it might happen on race day. In all the build up races I'd stuck (just about) to plan and I suppose I just thought the same would happen again. All that positive mental attitude didn't allow any room for doubt. Maybe my expectations of the experience and myself were too high.

    I've still not been out for a run, but am thinking that I might go for a no pressure pootle on Sunday (while not watching the London Marathon!) The "never again" feeling has mutated into a "maybe, but not yet". That 5 hrs is just too close to ignore completely. However, it's the training commitment that I'm not prepared to accept again at this stage - it took over life in a way that running hasn't before. There is certainly something in you have no idea what a marathon entails until you've done it. Physically, I think I'd done everything I could have done, but I know I'd be better prepared mentally next time not having to cross unknown territory.

    Plan for the summer remains, knock off 5&10k PBs. It would be a shame to waste the hard earned fitness. And thankyou.

  • Helen

    i was watching FLM on TV one year- and an african pulled out at around 6 miles i think

    someone with a micro phone went up to him and said

    What went wrong any idea

    to which he waved his arms and said - no idea

    and i've always thought since then

    if they dont know or cannot find an obvious answer, at their level

    then how are we supposed to  

  • Running a  marathon is basically a non-starter for most people who run recreationally

    They don't have the physical conditioning, mental strength and time to train fully to achieve it.

    They often follow a programme that is the bare minimum and then run some of the way and walk the rest, or try to run it all the way and risk injury. Both these solutions are hit and miss and can lead to dissapointment and self-incrimination.

    Marathons are in my opinion over sold, I would say anyone who cannot regulary run 50miles a week including speed and stamina work should not be taking on this distance.

    I barely run 40 miles a week and concentrate on 5k and do 10k and HM only when the mood takes me.

    I have been running for 3-5 years and am fast enough to finish at the top of my age group and my times are respectable. When I started I didnt race for the first 2-3 years at any distance, concentrating on just running and really that is the advice I would give novices.

    When you can enjoy it without a goal for years at a time thats part of the mental toughness you need.

    Just run.Make running the be all and end all of your running. Condition your body. Train the mind. Get to know your body in different conditions. Hot cold wet windy. Then when you start racing you will find like I did that you have laid a very good foundation.

    I may run a marathon one day. I want to but that desire is based on my currently ability to train and achieve certain times. When you know that you can do X amount of training and get Y result that gives you insight into your abilities.When those abilities get to a certain level I may run a marathon.

    Not before.

  • Nicely put DL image
  • Echo all other comments, your achievement is awesome regardless of time. Another suggestion, which has worked for me, is to train using a heart rate monitor and a book called heart monitor training for the complete idiot by John Parker. I trained and raced on Sunday using my HR monitor and it worked for me, would strongly recommend.
  • *ponders how "you shouldn't have run it" is supposed to help*

    Anyone got a time machine about their person?

  • LOL Helen. image image

    Doctor Who is down my neck of the woods quite regularly.  Shall I have a word?  image

  • Helen- hope the initial post marathon blues are receding. Unfortunately, I think it's that feeillng of "I could/ should have done better" that keeps us slower runners coming back. I have done 8 now, I am getting slower, and I STILL keep thinking that if only I found the magic ingredient ( proper pacing on the day, correct trainig regime, etc) I'd take a leap forward, I KNOW that's never actually going to happen, but hey, call me stupid, my name is down for 2 more this year............I'll never learn.

    I've never felt any sort of emotional high on finishing a race- sick, dizzy, cramp, relief that it's over, -yes, but I don't understand where all the emotional thing comes from. You are normal, and if, upon due reflection, you ever feel like repeating the experience, well, at least you know what it feels like, and if you don't , well at least you are capable of learning from experience, which I ( evidently) am not.

    Take at least a couple of weeks rest before you try any more than a very gentl recovery run.


  • Hi Helen

    I did the London Marathon on Sunday (my first marathon) and feel exactly the same way (almost to the point of tears - and I am a bloke !) as I did not achieve the time I wanted. 

    I really shouldnt feel so down as it is disrespectfulI to the crowds lining the route who were absolutely fantastic and incredibly generous in every respect however I suspect we are both having the huge come down after the massive high and hope that time will help put things in perspective.  All I can say was that no matter how tough I thought I was mentally nothing could have prepared me for how incredibly difficult it all became after mile 19 - I had to walk - something I had previously thought of as inconceivable !

    I know it probably doesnt help much at the moment but you should feel proud of yourself (as everyone is telling me I should be) for completing a marathon full stop.  You are in a very small percentage of the population and its an achievement to be proud of.

    I have resolved to give it as many goes as it takes to achieve my target time and that is already giving me some comfort.

    Hope it helps to know there is a least 1 other feeling as down as you.

    Phew - what a rollercoaster !



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