running the boston marathon

26.2+ miles of memories: My boston marathon journey

Running the Boston Marathon
Shaun Provost Personal Trainer

by Shaun Provost
Founder of Live Unbreakable

If You’re Running the Boston Marathon...

...chances are you’ve heard of The Kissing Bridge, Heartbreak Hill, and the famous intersection of Hereford and Boylston.  You’ve probably already thought through your nutrition in Athlete Village prior to the race start, and how you’ll avoid hitting the wall during the race. You know what you’re going to wear (you’ve changed it a few times, but have finally decided) and probably even have a back-up pair of leggings or shoes depending on the weather.

let's explore more about running the boston marathon!

- about the author -

Shaun Provost Personal Trainer

shaun provost

founder, live unbreakable

Shaun is a dedicated professional in fitness and nutrition, committed to helping others achieve lasting health and happiness through personalized plans. As the founder of Live Unbreakable, she offers science-based solutions for sustainable lifestyle changes.

Learn more about Shaun Provost

running the boston marathon cont'd

I know because I remember preparing for this race as if it were just last year (hint: it definitely wasn’t). Man, how I absolutely love this race. I’ve run other marathon majors and probably hundreds if not thousands of races in my athletic career but all of them honestly pale in comparison to this one. Maybe it’s my love for the race itself, maybe it’s because I’ve had the pleasure of training on this course year-round, or maybe it’s because of the history of the city you can see and feel as you progress through the course.  The first time I ran it, I thought I was prepared as ever, but there were two things that I hadn’t prepared for, and that stand out in my memory more than a decade later.

The first was how absolutely emotional this race actually is.

I had longed to run this course during Marathon Monday instead of just during my training runs. Yearned to get kissed on the bridge, cheered on during the hardest hill, take photos and get hugs from my loved ones along the course, and hear the screams of the crowd as I took the legendary turn to the finish line. Here’s what’s so insane… Every single step of the Boston Marathon is filled with exactly the same excitement as those three iconic locations - sometimes even more.

From the smiles of the bus drivers taking you from downtown Boston to Hopkinton, to the volunteers in the village ushering you into your waiting corrals. From the houses you walk past to get to the start line to the volunteers helping you find your family at the end of the race. From the college students offering you salt-covered strawberries (don’t knock it til you try it!) to the adults offering you a shot of fireball in celebration. From the motivational posters to the Citgo sign, and everything in between, the people in this city make this race their entire identity for one day and it’s just the most magical, breathtaking experience to be a part of.

There are hundreds of thousands of people lining the streets of the marathon just as excited to see you as they would be to watch their child take its first steps. They’re excited for you, but better yet, they are excited with you. The entire city has the day off so they can share in this amazing experience alongside you. We Are One.

Running a Marathon

The other side of this is how emotional you feel after the race is over.

Unfortunately, after such a charged weekend/race day, there’s a massive emotional dip that you’ll be feeling in the days/weeks following the marathon. Race week blues is a totally normal response to a big accomplishment like this, and since so much training, so many nerves, and so much effort was put into making Marathon Monday unforgettable, it’s bound to happen. What’s ironic, and maybe a little funny to me, is that even as a spectator of the race most years, I felt the same post-race blues as when I actually got to run it. Maybe not to the same extent, but I so vividly remember being saddened watching the spectator gates and finish line arches being broken down, and the banners along the course being replaced with the next big thing. It was always so bittersweet. I also wouldn’t set foot on the course during my training runs for months, just giving the course some much needed “time-off”and respectful peace in my head.

Thankfully, mental preparation for these blues can absolutely lessen the impact. Personally, I always focused and reflected on my accomplishment and the journey it took to achieve it, and found solace in exploring activities that I had put on hold during training.  I also spent so much time in the weeks following just purely focusing on self-care; sleep, baths, massages, movement that feels good (yoga, especially). I also usually found myself signing up for another race (or a tattoo commemorating what I just accomplished!)… so I had something exciting to look forward to! When I ran the marathon and didn’t live in the city, I stayed an extra few days to soak in the last bits of excitement that were left over. Purposefully walked around the city and caught glimpses of the calm that fell over it after the other runners had long gone.

I’ve found that the only real way out of this one is through, but know that you and approximately 35,000 other runners are feeling exactly the same way, so you’re very much not alone. Allow yourself to process everything surrounding the event, maybe join some Boston Marathoners groups or forums, and you’ll be back to yourself in no time - except this time, you have a Boston Marathon Medal (and jacket!?) to remind you just how badass you really are. #BostonStrong

Shaun Provost Personal Trainer

by Shaun Provost
Founder of Live Unbreakable

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