It's Monday morning, you're still cramping in places you didn't know you could, flip flops are still your preferred choice of footwear, and it feels weird to not be heading out on your morning run. Whether your post-race blues set in the morning or the week after your race, we all experience them at some point. The disorientation, the loss of routine, the emotional low after the huge high, the feeling of purpose that comes with helping a charity, or just being able to train for a goal. We're here to guide you through the rollercoaster that is the post-race emotional come-down.
Let's just start by saying that you should be incredibly proud of yourself! Whatever the distance or the time, training for a race is hard work and requires commitment, discipline, hard work, sacrifice and a LOT of work! The first step to processing those post-race blues is to acknowledge how awesome you are. Not how far or fast you ran but how you stuck to a plan, worked hard, pushed yourself and chose growth.
Here are some of my favourite ways to deal with the absence of training for a goal and how I get myself out of that post-race funk.
Reward myself for turning up
This looks different for all of us and it doesn't necessarily involve an expensive shopping trip (although a new pair of running shoes never hurts...). However, I'm a big believer in doing little things that reward us for our hard work. It could be as simple as going for a beer with friends, out for dinner to celebrate, or a new pair of running shorts that we've wanted for ages, or just getting a coffee on your way to work when you usually wouldn't. You deserve it and you worked hard for it! This is just any Monday morning, this a post-race Monday, own it!
Think about the best bits
I love reminiscing about the event and remembering seeing familiar faces in the crowds, strangers cheering, a section where I felt great or even my favourite song coming on when I needed it most. Create a highlight reel in your head and let it play over and over again. These events are an emotional rollercoaster (never plain sailing!) and it's important to remember the special moments. Let the great memories bring a smile to your face and cherish them. Just because it's over doesn't mean it's gone.
Stick to your routine
Navigating the space in between your last race and starting to train for your next one can be really tough. Routine gives structure to our days and gives us a great foundation on which to build. Even if you're not running for a few weeks, get up and go for a walk or spend the time you'd have been running on another hobby that you've not giving as much time to. By staying consistent and disciplined you confirm that these are habits and that you are the kind of person who has structure.
Allow yourself to feel what you feel
It sounds obvious, but sometimes it really is. Don't try and suppress what you're feeling, those emotions are completely normal and valid. Let yourself be happy, sad, motivated, a little lost, but don't start comparing yourself to everyone else. We all deal with emotions differently and I like to write mine down or speak to a friend about it. Whatever works for you is perfect, as long as you let yourself feel what you feel.