Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Defeat the Post-Race Blues

We all go through it – we train and we train … and we train – as we focus on the BIG DAY!  It’s finally here and we finally run that 13.1 or 26.2 mile journey.  We cross that finish line and wear our medal around our neck all day.  The next day, we wake up a little very sore, can’t walk down the stairs, perhaps have a day off from running and a break from the rigid training schedule.  We stare at the container of energy gels and bottles of sports drink staring right back at us in the kitchen pantry, wondering when it will be used again.  Now what??!!  What the heck are we supposed to do?
Whether it’s a half a full or even a 5K – many runners at all levels experience this.  It’s very similar to post-partum depression after giving birth, or the intense planning of a wedding.  The impendent of the big day has been such a primary focus of your life for the past several months.  So, what should you do now?
I asked this very question over on the RDM Facebook page (HERE), after I ran my last full marathon.  I often enjoy a week or so of a loose training schedule, some extra “down time” and maybe treat myself to a few things special.  However, after that week passes, I am often faced with missing the training, missing the benefits that I see in my body and miss the excitement of having that big race on my calendar.  I love the routine and knowing what is “expected” of me.
Here are some ideas that RDM readers shared to keep themselves motivated - many that I use myself, to get through the post-race blues.
-       Sign up for another race! (by far – the most popular suggestion!)

-       Analyze how you could improve as a runner – focus on things like form, footstrike, etc

-       Join/form a running group with friends.

-       Set a few running dates with friends shortly after your race, to keep you going

-       If your goal was just to finish the race, you were focused on distance.  Sign up for another race of any distance, and focus on time.

-       Force yourself to go for a super slow short run within a few days after the race.

-       Sign up for a 5K or 10K a week after your race

-       Start a blog or motivational Facebook page

-       Update your playlist and go for a long run one week after the race.

-       Recharge and reconnect with why you love running.  Go “naked” – no watches/times.

-       Go on a relaxing vacation

-       Try something new – duathlons, triathlons, mud run, skiing, cross-country skiing, zumba, etc

-       Treat yourself to some new gear for the next season and get ready for the next round of training in style.

How do you get through the post-race blues?


  1. Keeping several races on the calendar keeps me training and excited for something else.

  2. I always have my next goal to start training for so I never go through this. My goals are planned many years in advance…5 to 7 years in fact. I am crazy yes!

  3. So timely... I run my first ever marathon in less than 3 weeks and I've already been wondering, "Then what???" And you have provided me with many good suggestions! :)