Postrace Attitude & How It Impacts Recovery

Nick Davies

You have spent months preparing for the big race, early mornings, late nights, practice runs and healthy eating have all helped lead you to your best run ever. Sure you had some aches and pains along your race but you conquered all the goals you set for yourself and you feel there is nothing that can bring you down from feeling so good. You are ready for your well earned feast and recovery time. Then a few days into your recovery and you feel weird, your tired but can’t sleep, you feel low, grumpy, and just sad but you don’t know why.

Post race depression has gotten ahold of you and you can’t seem to shake it. Not only is it tough being emotionally down but this mindset is also affecting your recovery.

What Causes Post Race Depression?

"Having a feeling of being let down, or even a short wave of depression, following a well-prepared race can be a normal experience," says Dr. Jeff Brown, author of The Runner's Brain and the Boston Marathon's lead psychologist. So why do we feel this way even if we performed well and met our personal goals? A common reason for many is that they have nothing to work toward anymore. With no other races lined up and all that time put in leading up to your race, all the hard work and now nothing. It can leave you feeling like you don’t have anything to guide your days anymore leaving some feelings lonely and lost.

RUSEEN Reflective Apparel - Blog Post - Dealing With Post Race Depression

How To Counter The Post Run Blues

There are lots of factors that go into your recovery. This includes pre race and post race practices like how well rested you are, what your nutrition looks like, and if you go in healthy and well-trained but all of this can wrapped into what your mindset is.

According to Senior Manager of Athlete Performance Mike Watts of Under Armor “There’s a big part of the process in journaling, gratitude, affirmations, and intentions. We know those things are related to the release of serotonin and oxytocin, which can help you recover quicker.” Try writing down things such as whether your were satisfied or dissatisfied with your performance and why. Really analyze and breakdown your run. Make notes of what parts were good and what parts were bad. But overall make it a positive entry, focus on your wins and build that into your confidence. All of these things can help you process your performance and move forward from it all while taking in notes on how to improve. Many professional athletes have found this to be a great help in analyzing their performances.

RUSEEN Reflective Apparel - Blog Post - Journal

Have a plan for what’s next in your athletic career. Having new goals to continue to strive for can help sway those negative emotions. Or have goals not related to racing, just have things to look forward too. Spend some time with your family, learn a new hobby, or anything else you have always wanted to pursue. Use your recovery time to try new things, running will always be there and you can be right back at it in no time but sometimes a change of pace can help energize and uplift your spirit.

Just Remember

The post race blues are normal to experience. But by preparing ahead of time and journal your experiences you may just be able to counter those feelings. If you can keep a positive outlook your recovery will be faster and you will be moving onto your next challenge in no time determined and ready for anything. Cheers!

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