Post-Race Blues and How to Overcome Them

So, you’ve just finished a race recently and it seems like you are lacking motivation to get back out running?

Well, you aren’t the only one who has experienced this. And it can happen no matter how you did or felt you did in the race itself.

While I haven’t necessarily felt this after every race I’ve done, I have definitely felt it before.

And since my last race, the Philadelphia Marathon in November, I have been feeling a little of these post-race blues.

At first, I was physically tired. I thought that it would go away as it has after most of my races in the past.

But that hasn’t exactly happened for me since that race in Philadelphia.

After a couple weeks of easy running, I realized that I was feeling physically recovered from the race, but still lacking the motivation to get out the door for my daily runs.

I was still enjoying running once I got started. It was just the getting ready for and working up the energy to get started that was proving to be the difficult part.

So, what are some things that I have been doing to help get through this?

Recover!

Make this the #1 priority.

This is the most important thing you can do after a race and training cycle.

During your training cycle, you focused a lot of time and energy to try to prepare in the best way possible for your race.

Now, it feels like your body and mind don’t really know what’s going on because you aren’t expending the same amounts of time and energy anymore. So, try filling this extra time that you now have with something else that you enjoy, but do your best to at least stay active during this time.

Even if you are still running, make sure that the efforts are easy and light to further help with recovery.

Register for Another Race

Sometimes it just helps to have something on the calendar to motivate you to stay active.

Don’t make it too soon to allow yourself proper recovery time from your last race. Instead, plan ahead and register for something a few months into the future.

Registering for another race or event, even if it’s months away, helps me to mentally bridge the gap between training cycles. It helps me to know that it’s not over, but rather I’m just taking a break from the tougher training days.

Then, once I’m fully recovered, I will have something to start working towards.

I am really close to finalizing my race schedule for the first half of the year and just this alone has gotten me a little more motivated!

Change It Up

Take the recovery time as an opportunity to begin cross-training – cycling, swimming or even home workouts.

Join a running group (online or in-person).

Run in shorts in the sub-freezing temperatures just for fun!

Do anything you want to stay active and have fun, but remember that you are still recovering.

Who knows – these new exercises that you add to your routine could end up being a part of your routine permanently and help you to be more successful in the future!

I just did my first kettlebell workout today. While it wasn’t the easiest thing I’ve ever done, I’m hoping that with some additional work on it, it will become a big part of my routine going forward!

Review Training Cycle/Race

You don’t have to review everything in detail (unless you really want to), but instead just try to think about some things that you did well and would like to continue or some things that maybe didn’t go that well and you shouldn’t incorporate into your next training cycle.

It’s also important to factor in what you feel contributed to your overall success or failure in your last race.

When I do this, I make it a point to write down the major highlights – good and bad – and then take these into account when it comes time to start planning for a new training cycle.

Take It Easy

Lastly, if none of these ideas help you out, then maybe it’s time to just relax.

Take some time off to do something that you haven’t had a chance to do because of all the running you’ve been doing.

Or if it makes you feel better – do absolutely nothing!

Have you experienced post-race blues? What did you do to get through them? Let us know in the comments!


More From RunPatRun:

  • As I start to fill my race calendar for the next several months, keep a look out for some training updates that I plan on giving through the training cycle.
  • I’m still working on some more additions to my Race Series and will hopefully have one or two more posts out in the next month.

2 thoughts on “Post-Race Blues and How to Overcome Them

  1. Good stuff, Pat. This advice will likely help a a lot of people.

    When I start losing motivation, I typically review my race schedule as well. Reminding myself of what I have coming up and the reasons behind all of this really helps me replenish the motivation.

    I’ve also found that having people to run with helps on those days when I really just find it hard to muster up the energy to get out the door. Having people to run with helps because of the extra accountability it establishes of not wanting to make them wait. Also, socializing on the run helps the miles fly by.

    Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

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