Avoiding the post-race blues

By February 16, 2017General

Post-race blues are commonly experienced after any big goal has been accomplished.  From running your first 5k, to obtaining the elusive Boston Qualifying time, there’s a lot of time and effort that goes into the buildup for a race.  The same questions bounce around in everyone’s head: “What now?”; “What’s next?”; and “Do I want to do this again?”.  Similar thoughts and feelings are experienced when a race is unexpectedly cancelled.  All the hard work and effort that was focused on this one event can feel as if it was all for naught.  So when a race doesn’t go according to plan due to poor pacing, subpar weather conditions, or injury, it leaves people disgruntled, especially when it’s something out of their control.  If this is something that sounds familiar, here are a few ways of getting over the post-race blues:

  1. Debrief.  After any race, it’s always a good idea to go over the pros and cons from the race.  Start by listing off the good things that happened as it’s instinctive to leap onto what went wrong.  When analyzing the problem areas, you’ll learn about what did work, how to rectify any problem areas, and what you can do to improve next time around. Write down these notes, and visualize how to make the next training cycle better, faster, and more fun for smoother sailing into the next event.
  2. Set a new goal. Once a race is said and done, it can be hard to find the motivation to run again. Having just put your body through months of training, your body requires ample recovery time post-race and this is the ideal time to set a new goal.  There are so many great races throughout the year that signing up for a race in a different distance, city, or sport is an easy way to keep the training momentum going.
  3. Mix it up. After debriefing, the dos and don’ts that were experienced can spark some training changes when building to the next race.  Incorporate different training regimes like spin classes, strength sessions, and swimming, or find a group to train with that may provide new ideas for different running routes and workouts.  By keeping training fun and exciting it helps to keep the motivation up, and the blues at bay.
  4. Keep things in perspective.  Things typically happen for a reason. The reason may be unclear initially, but when you look back down the road there are things that point out why something did or didn’t work out as you had planned.  It’s important to remember that although sacrifices are made to execute a training cycle properly, there is a lot more to life than that one race.  This isn’t meant to downplay any goal that’s been achieved, big or small, it’s just a way to keep it in perspective.  At the end of the day, friends and family will be cheering and supporting you no matter the outcome; there will always be another race to sign up for, and you’ll have learned something about yourself that you didn’t know before the journey began.

Post-race blues are likely, but not inevitable.  Keep moving forward, sign up for your next event, and keep that training routine rolling!

Looking for your next event? Find the next Canada Running Series event near you!