By: Dan Arnett – Head Coach of Endurance Concepts
I would like to discuss a phenomena commonly referred to as post race blues. You have just completed you’re ‘A’ race a couple of days ago and think you should be excited and on cloud 9. But instead, you are moody and irritable. Why is that?
There are several reasons that have been attributed to this and I will briefly touch on some of them. Essentially, you have set your sites on this particular race for a long time now. Your body was primed for it, you went out there and gave it your all and now it’s over. Regardless of how you did, your mind knows the task is complete. So your body thinks it’s time to rest. It’s trying to rebuild itself and you are trying to hold onto that peak fitness because you liked that feeling. But you can’t hold-on to peak fitness for very long, that is just the nature of the body. Mentally, you don’t have a goal on the horizon anymore and feel like you’re lost. It’s best to focus on your recovery from the effort and the lessons learned from the race instead of “What do I do now?” Training is about cumulative effort and the race you just completed is all part of that. Let your body recover and focus on that. Focusing on recovery allows the mind to have an immediate goal to concentrate on. The lessons learned from the race will be flushed out soon enough. Don’t dwell on how you could have done this better or that better.
Discuss with your coach how to progress from here. Together, the coach and athlete will be able to gather the information from the race and use it to the athlete’s advantage. Every race has great lessons to be learned, which are not all time related. You might also experience some weight gain a couple of days after your race. Don’t let this get you down. Remember that you just pushed your body as hard as it could go. You damaged your muscles and now they must repair themselves in order to get stronger. The body will retain water around those muscles in order to help facilitate recovery and flush out any toxins that remain. Allow yourself a couple of days to do the things that you prevented yourself from doing before the race. Relax and enjoy the fact that you pushed yourself; all within reason of course. With the guidance of your coach, you will slowly get back to full speed ahead training and set your sights on the next goal. But don’t get frustrated that you feel down a bit. It’s expected and totally natural. But like anything, if it gets to an extreme, let your coach know and seek assistance from a professional.
– Coach Dan