You know that feeling as you just finished a race and all the emotions come out from all those months of training and planning. There is nothing like it. Then the dust settles, and all your races are done. The season is over. What do you do? How do you feel?
It's like Christmas or a vacation. That moment after those events or holidays are done its back to reality. Who here has ever felt that depression after Christmas or a race? I am sure everyone has at some point in their life. How to deal with it?
First off it is a normal reaction. There is nothing to be ashamed of if you feel depressed after the race. Some people have trained and planned for these races for months even years, so yes there is going to be a little letdown after the race is over. So why does this happen?
There are many different theories out there and they could all be said to be true depending on the athlete. One of the reasons is a term called “arrival fallacy." This term refers to when an athlete reaches a long-term goal, but the satisfaction was in the process of training.
Another is that our bodies and minds are always looking for the next challenge to conquer. That’s why we love sports to conquer and compete. It also could be because once the race is over you cannot control how you did, and you must wait until next year to fix it. These could be some of the reasons you get depressed after a race, but it might not be any of these. Every athlete is different so our thought process could be different.
So, what to do if you find yourself in the post-race blues? Talk to people about it? More than likely, there are people out there that feel the same way as you do. Talk to some racing friends about it. Peer support is a tremendous help because most of them have gone through it or are going through it. It’s not a weakness to talk about how you are feeling. Another way to recover is to rest your body.
Let’s face it whether you ran a 5k or an Ironman your body has gone through some tough times. Over training is another issue. Your body needs time to rest as well as your mind. After the race season is over, I will find another hobby. To take your mind away from it awhile then you can pick up training for your next adventure. If you are still having trouble, seek a professional. Remember it is not a weakness to talk to someone, it’s a strength!
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