If you’ve ever taken part in any kind of distance sport, be it running, cycling or swimming, the chances are you’ve taken part in a race. Maybe you laced up and ran a marathon for charity, or maybe you cycled the 120miles from London to the Suffolk coast in the Dunwich Dynamo. If you have, you’ll know it takes a lot of training to get to the race. It takes over your life for a good few months; you’ve trained, you’ve sweated, you’ve probably eaten lots of pity cake, you’ve definitely cried and you’ve most certainly had a blister or two. But then the race happens, and once the tears and shock and jubilation and feelings of badassery wear off, whats next? It can all fall a little flat. So how do you beat those pesky post-race blues?
Take some time off
It’s okay to have some time away from the sport you’ve been immersed in for months upon months upon months. You’re not going to immediately become unfit if you don’t run for a few weeks. Your trainers will still fit. You won’t forget how to ride a bike. It’s OKAY. If you really don’t want to do it, just don’t for a bit. Sometimes, a little distance is what we need after such an intense period of training.
You’ve had a bloody hard and probably horrible few months. Make sure you celebrate! Treat yourself to something nice, spend some quality time with the friends you’ve not seen because you’ve been in a training bubble, have a weekend away… have lots of little things to look forward to, and you won’t notice that there’s no longer this One Big Thing looming ahead on the calendar.
Don’t ditch your training buddies
If you’re anything like me, training means a lot of over-sharing, a lot of complaining and a constant need for reassurance. I was lucky that I knew a few friends who were also training for their first marathon, and daily texts about injuries, stomach issues, unusual blisters and our desperate need to jack it all and face-plant pizza became the norm. But since the marathon, we’ve not had anywhere near as much contact and I really miss it. Stay in touch, reassure each other that everything really will be alright, meet for a casual run where the time and distance doesn’t matter. Make a pact to never do another marathon and then break it next year when the London ballot opens again.
Try something new
If you decide to abandon your chosen sport for a little bit while you find your feet in the world post-event, mix it up and try something new. Swimming, boxing, dancing, spinning… anything you fancy. It’ll keep your poor, tired muscles moving, clear your head and help to cure some of that “I never want to run/swim/cycle ever again” mindset.
Join a club
If you decide that actually, on reflection, doing a race only made you love your sport MORE, make a different change and sign up to a local club. Exercising with other people is the perfect antithesis to the gruelling loneliness of training, and going to regular sessions will provide a bit of structure to your post-race exercise calendar. Most clubs have a program in place to help make you faster, stronger and fitter, and a lot of people find they accomplish more when exercising as part of a group. And that’s never a bad thing.
….sign up for another one
Come on… you may have cried “screw that! I’m never doing it ever again!” after you crossed the finish line, but you knew deep down you’d be back. While it’s probably not a great idea to jump straight into training for the next race, the post-race lull is a good time to see what else is out there, maybe do a cheeky sign up and have a little something to look forward to in a little while. After a bit of a rest. And a few gin and tonics.
Do you have any tips for beating your post-race blues?
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