Post Race Blues
Paraphrasing one athlete, "I have been in a real funk and I’m just not sure how to get out of it! After my race, I really fell off my training and the diet…..I was really doing so well and then just lost all interest. I don’t have any motivation and can’t seem to find the excitement and fun energy I’ve always had."
Lack of motivation, loss of fitness, and a then depression about all of it creates a vicious cycle! And it never helps when major events are done, holidays hit, and the dark and drear of winter make it even harder to motivate towards your health goals.
The goals we set in front of us often become a central focus of our lives. In setting a goal or intention remember this and think through when you may have work deadlines, family events or other activities that will demand attention and time. We all try to maintain a sense of balance, but regardless our brain and body is constantly thinking about the goal event - how to eat, how to find time to get workouts in, what the next workout is, how to get the laundry done and find time to shower. So, it is not surprising that once this event is over there is a gap and a time when you can feel lost and unmotivated.
It is not surprising to find this “gap” in the early parts of a new year too. The holidays are done, spring and summer events are a bit too far away to visualize through the gray, rain, snow and cold.
The Gap - You Are Not Alone
It may help to know it is normal to feel this emptiness or void! And it’s neither a sign of good nor bad but to be expected because of a long focus you’ve had (and will get back). It can be so easy to beat yourself up, question why you are not motivated, scramble to fill the calendar or jump into another event immediately. Be deliberate. Take the time to recover, slow down and really think about what is next.
If you are finding you have a lot of negative background conversations in your head this is a great time to step back and think about what you would tell a friend who was saying these things about themselves?
Rather than dwelling on the should haves (I should be working out, I should be motivated, I should have a bigger goal), let’s figure out how to feel better or and maybe even lessen the post race and post season blues next time!
It’s both exciting and terrifying to consider your next big events or goal especially if you are just coming off of a big goal or event or if you have never really set a big goal out in front of you. Maybe signing up for a big event is too much. Or maybe it is just what you need?
Right now is a great time to step back and reflect (and celebrate!) what you accomplished. Even if you didn’t quite hit your goals or even fell way off, step back and reflect on what did go well and even how far you have come. All of us have something to celebrate.
Right now is a great time to let go of the doubts or questions and really dream about what it is you would do if you could do anything.
Remember your athletics don’t define who you are but they make up a big piece of who you are. Consider when are you the happiest? Is it out on your bike? On a trail? Crossing a finish line?
Take the time to document your experience or write out what you want your experience to be. Put in the details you remember and are proud of. Put in details of how you want to feel. If looking at a past event, what would you do differently and why? (Feel free to send these to us as we are always looking for Tales of the Day guest blogs!)
Check In Now
For those of you who have spent a lot of time and energy working on a big goal maybe it is time to step back and give back to those who have been helping you. Check in with your spouse, significant other, children, pets, Great Aunt Doris! Make this their time to take on a goal or simply to spend time with you without the thought of a big workout hanging over your head.
For those of you searching for a goal use this time to check in too. What are friends planning? How does your significant other feel about various things you want to do? How can you include your family and friends?
This “gap” time is a great time to have other activities planned that are not fitness related or to do some activity you would not normally do (take a dance class, a cooking class, hike, volunteer, etc).
Acknowledge the physical and mental effort of what you did this past year and enjoy taking the time to recover. Your body and mind will be stronger for allowing some recovery.
Lastly, if you still can’t shake this out of sorts feeling, don’t forget to talk to the people around you (including your Coach and other CLA Team members!) about it. Chances are, most will understand or be going through some of the same thing! The CLA facebook team chat might be a great place to reach out.
Often once you take the time to take this sort of mental rest, your body will let you know when it’s ready for the next steps. Sometimes it seems almost impossible that you were able to do that big goal you JUST did but rest assured, that’s the beauty of consistent training and a sensibly progressive training plan. Those big goals become possible! The same goes for those of you thinking about setting a bigger goal. All the groundwork you have done will set you up to achieve!
If you’ve been inactive for quite a while (more than a few weeks), don’t jump back right into your schedule when you were in peak training! Examine where making some small changes can make big differences and ask if you need help. Set your intentions.
Gradually add more activity (cross training is an excellent place to start!) and accept where you are right now. It is hard to not be able to jump back right where you left off but remind yourself you will be stronger and fitter by having taken that solid recovery time.
Maybe the intention is to work on your fueling and overall nutrition or to add in more stretching, foam rolling or strength. No matter the intention find a way to track it for yourself and remember the little things add up. You can quickly make big changes especially in your attitude!
Maybe it is not enough to just set your intention and be working on it by yourself. Maybe you are more motivated by an event or goal you can put out there to others so they can help you.
Or maybe something like the CLA team challenge where you are paired up in groups of 2-3 is what you need to help keep you honest and working hard. Or maybe creating a start chart like we used to have in school as kids and actually buying some fun stickers will help? What works for you is something for you to discover!
The best thing you can do during this gap time is to think about what will help motivate you and keep you excited to work toward your new intentions and goals and to think about who or what you have around you that will help.
Please share with us your goals and tips and tricks to work on all those fun intentions of 2019!
Cheers to a new year! Consider those possibilities!