Post race depression. It is a thing, and you are not alone. After months of training, devoting yourself to something and the high of the event, once it is all said and done you can feel a little low. It might leave you feeling confused of what to do next. When so much of your time and energy is spent on one specific thing, once it happens, you can be left feeling like you’re on a roller coaster of emotions. This is especially significan’t as we head into the fall and winter months, with shorter days and colder temperature.
Personally I have experienced this “post race depression”. You are riding the high from your last race, revelling in your amazing accomplishment. But once the high wears off, you are left wondering, What’s next? After a race, especially a big one, you have to give your body and mind time to rest and recovery fully. But in between races, or time where you are mending an injury it can be hard to not feel low, depressed, bored. It can be hard not to compare yourself to the friends around you that might still have races coming up or who are logging big mileage.
The ups and downs we all go through during a time of rest or period lacking specific training are because we create expectations of ourselves. If we aren’t running a certain number of miles a week then we see ourselves as weak or slacking. “Oh no I am becoming out of shape!”… admit it, you’ve thought that!
But it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. Allow yourself the time to rest and heal without the guilt of not training like a crazy person. You will not loose your fitness. Your body will be stronger because you chose to rest and you will be less likely to get injured if you take the time off. Trust us, your body will thank you for this.
Now that you have some free time, here are some activities you can do to avoid spiraling back down into post race depression!
1. Try a new sport or activity
-You might have some extra time now that you aren’t running for hours on saturdays and sundays. Try something new that you haven’t before like cycling, swimming, cross training, yoga… give yourself the chance to try something you’ve always wanted to.
2. Sign up for a new race
-Registration opens for a lot of spring races in the fall. Use this time to plan ahead and get in on a race you really want to do. Races are selling out faster and faster each year!
3. Plan a trip or adventure within a year
-Dream big! Destination races are an awesome excuse to travel and see a new place!
-Your body needs a good stretch and some serious relaxation after a big race. A lot of yoga studios do a cheap rate for the first week you go there. This is a great chance to try out some new studios and styles of yoga!
-You’ve just accomplished something huge, don’t forget that! Take some serious time to look back on what you’ve just done. Perhaps you conquered a new distance, or set a PR. Give yourself a chance to feel proud.
6. Create a goals list
-Set some goals for the up coming year, and for 5 years ahead. Start dreaming up some crazy ideas that you’ve always wanted to do. If you make them a goal, you are more likely to work towards accomplishing it!
7. Visit with friends or family.
-I find when I am in the heat of training, I tend to neglect my non-runner friends and family. Not all your friends are runners. Use this time to connect with old friends, grab a coffee, go on a light hike, take a friend out for a run who is just starting, spend sometime with family. Maybe use this time to teach a friend to run or take them on a hike to a new place. Spread your outdoor love with others!
8. Try something:
-Maybe you’ve wanted to try a new pair of running shoes…You don’t have a race coming up so why not give them a try! Join a new running group or run some new trails or different routes. A lot of running groups train for races together, this might be a good idea to train for a fall race. It can be fun to train with a big group of friends!
9. Get some new gear
-Maybe treat yourself with a new fall outfit to keep you motivated to maintain your motivation through the changing season.
10. Cross Training
-When we are logging miles, working towards a race, we tend to become uber focused on running and less on cross training. It is a super important and effective way to build and strengthen muscles. You can target specific muscle groups, have some fun trying something new and get stronger before you start training for your next race!
-Have you ever volunteered for a race? It is awesome!! Take an opprotunity to be on the other side of a race, it can give you a whole new appreciation for what goes into putting a race on. Plus it can be just the thing you need to kick start your inspiration back up!
12. Focus on Nutrition
-To heal your muscles and your body, nutrition is a huge piece of the puzzle. Maybe it is the thing that is the biggest challeng e for you. Take this time to try some new recipes and incorperate more healthy foods!
Trying something new is always a step forward, we get to know ourselves, we get to experience something else and step outside our comfort zone. Do not be affraid to live in the moment of being uncomfortable, you are probably not alone. Post race depression is common, and you may feel uninspired or low for awhile. Just remember without the lows, we wouldn’t appreciate how sweet the highs are quite as much.