post-race blues (saying)
- the mental comedown after 16 weeks of committed training after a big race or marathon
- the tendency to relax and stop training after success or failure at a big race
- the urge to eat pizza and binge watch Netflix following a period of athletic dedication
The post-race blues can come in many forms and happen for many reasons.
Running the same old routes on your own is okay when you have the fear of a big race and possible PB attempt coming up. But after the big day; the thought of going running really doesn’t appeal.
Don’t let that form, pace and the new chiselled you slip away. Feel free to take a break (physically and mentally), but remember how hard you worked to get here.
Change up your running to get those motivational juices flowing again.
Running is a fairly solitary endeavour. That’s one of the beauties of the sport – you need a pair of trainers and can go any time you like. It can get boring after a while unless you’re a true introvert or like the meditation aspect of running. The thought of running with other people or finding people to run with can be daunting, but the benefits are huge. Running with others can bring accountability, healthy competition, coaching, and a social element – that all lead to further improvement.
There are many running groups springing up. Around London there is– Ldn Burger Club, Rep runners, Mile 27, Ldn Brunch Club, Adidas runners, Sweatshop, Midnight Runners. They are all findable online or on Instagram. Look up your local running club, you might be surprised by is popularity.
New routes and surfaces
Running the same routes is safe and means you don’t have to think. If you’ve just put in a big training block, you’ll be awfully tired of them.
Take a look at Google maps and see what’s around you. There are likely some parks near you that you don’t know about. That river that runs through your town is not really that far away. Get out of the village and into the fields. Soak up some nature instead of some road fumes. Go and explore a little bit. Try out some different surfaces. Find a trail or a hill race. They’re becoming more and more popular.
Get The bus or train
Sometimes it’s difficult trying to think of interesting routes that are a loop that conveniently adds up to the number of miles you want to achieve and drops you back home. Hop on a train or the bus that will drop you far enough away from home and then run home. You’ve probably never thought of running from the other side of town, but if you looked at it, it may be the 10-12 miles you need.
I preach less is more when it comes to “more stuff”, but having some new kit and the urge to pull it on and get back out on the road or trail really does help. Depending on how serious you’re about running or how much you use your washing machine, you don’t really need that much kit. I tend to rotate 3 sets of clothes and have 3 pairs of shoes that I alternate depending on the surface.
I would advocate a quality over quantity. I’ve had my eye on a Nike Dri-Fit Knit top that is £55 full price. I could get 2-3 tops for the price of this, but would I love wearing them as much? One top I go back to time and time again is my North Face running top. Lightweight, soft, hard wearing and a good shape and length. (Today’s equivalent would be the Ambition shirt).
Cross training can be swimming, cycling, rowing or some weights and tends to be done in at the gym, which is the antithesis of getting outside and going running. You can incorporate bodyweight exercises into your run, be it press-ups, planks, jump squats, burpees or sit-ups. Use a bench for press ups, a rail fence for some chest pull-ups. Do some reps jumping over a log, some step-ups on a low wall. At intervals stop and add some walking lunges, jumping jacks or squats. It helps to do it with a friend.
Change your tune
Take a look at the iTunes charts and find something new to listen to. Want a new running podcast? Try the new The Morning Shakeout Podcast which features interviews with national champion and Olympic medallist runners including Shalane Flanagan (New York marathon winner) and Meb Keflezighi (New York and Boston marathon winner).
Bored of the same tunes on your phone or iPod? Try the Above and Beyond or Defected Radio podcasts. Any DJ worth their salt has their own podcast these days – Avicii, Paul Oakenfold, Tiesto, Eric Prydz!
Can’t be bothered with that? Try the Fit Radio App. The new daily mixes, pace matching beats and fixed time mixes to drive your runs along.
Check in with your motivation
What was it that got you started running? Whatever it was – your physical or mental health, your children, a friend or family member who has battled a life-threatening disease. Spend some quiet time to remember what it was, how far you’ve come and then reinvest in that motivation.
Track your progress
If it’s not on Strava, the run never happen! Not exactly, but it is good to check your miles and progress. If you don’t have the discipline to keep a paper version, Strava or the Garmin Connect app will do a good job. There is no need to follow anyone else or share your profile. Brendan Leonard at Semi-Rad site put it nicely in his How I learned to stop worrying and love the Strava post
Take it seriously
You may have been surprised where some regular training got you during your previous training plan. Now you could plod along and head out for a run from time to time, enter a couple of 10kms and carry on like that. Or you can take it more seriously. Focus on what you’re doing, create a new plan, eat better, knock some of the drink on the head. Again, you’ll be surprised what a couple of little changes and some focus can do!
Get a new goal/challenge
Find a new goal. If it was a marathon last time, try and work on your 10km or 5km times. If you enjoyed the marathon last time, plan another one, review what when well and what didn’t in your last race. Use your plan to work on some of those weaknesses (hills, endurance, or speed)
I like the quote –
If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time. -Zig Ziglar