Thursday, May 31, 2012

Beating the Post-Race Blues: On to the Next One

After DJ Research killed it at the Harper's Ferry Half Marathon, he gave himself a few days to rest and then went out for a short run, only to return complaining that "it sucked."  For the next week or so, he moped around the house like the mopiest-moping mopester.  He managed a few runs during this time, but they were unfulfilling and his legs felt dead.  He didn't know what was wrong

I wanted to lend a sympathetic ear, but I was preparing for my own race, and was on top of the world excited for it.  I really couldn't relate to what he was going through.  But then I ran my race, and the hullabaloo died down, and I suddenly found myself moping right along with him.

I went for a few runs myself--nothing more than three miles--but I didn't feel invigorated when I was done.  In fact, I kinda felt like I was wasting my time.  I felt empty and listless.  Was I burned out with running already?!?

Turns out, we were both suffering from post-race blues.  We had spent the past few months training for these races, and now that the races were doneanddone, we felt like we were running for nothing.

I know, so dramatic and pathetic, right?

So we decided to get off our mope-ed (get it?!), and do something about it.  According to this Runner's World article, its important to have post-race running goals to keep you moving and motivated.  That said, rest is also a very key component of recovering from a race.  Always on the lookout for ways to multi-task, I decided to rest AND plan my running goals for summer and fall (I realize thats super lame and not really multi-tasking, but frankly, fake multi-tasking is a skill of mine.  I can watch TV and fold laundry likes its my job.)

Here's what I have planned for the summer:

1) #RWRUNSTREAK.  As I mentioned, the DJ and I are doing the Runner's World Summer Running Streak and running (at least) 1 mile a day from Memorial Day to July 4th.  This is the perfect challenge for me right now because there is zero pressure, but it still gets me out there for at least one mile.  We're 4 days into the challenge and so far I've run 11.6 miles.  I actually injured myself just a tad today--nothing serious--and the DJ asked, "Are you going to run tomorrow?"  "I have to," I said.  "I'm freaking streaking!"

Not the kind of streaking I had in mind,
but hey, whatever rocks your boat. (src)

2) Go on a family run (almost) every weekend.  I love running with my fam.  Its great bonding time for all of us, and since logistically its easiest if we run first thing in the morning, its a great way to start the day.  I say almost every weekend because I imagine there will be days when its too hot to run with Nugget, even at 8 in the morning, and there will be days when none of us want to get out of bed.  Almost gives us some wiggle room, and reminds me not to be militant about my arbitrary goals.

3) Find fun races.  Racing is fun, but the fees can really add up.  I've been looking for races this summer that are free (i.e. put on by our local running club) or super fun, and therefore worth the entry fee.  On the list right now is Friends of the W&OD 10K (which is a paved trail race that has a jogging stroller division!) and the Virginia Happy Trails Running Club Women's Half-Marathon.

W&OD Railroad Regional Park

4) On to the next one: But these goals are really secondary to my BIG goal for 2012: the Anthem Richmond Marathon.  Yup, after a good race at the Marine Corps Half-Marathon, I've decided its time for me to run the whole thing.  All 26.2 miles.  Holy smokes, I can't believe I just typed that.

Richmond Marathon.  Look at those colors!!

These goals make me excited to run, to really run, again.

Running this spring was awesome.  Running this summer is going to rock.  Running this fall is going to kick some major tush.  I'm so excited.

Have you ever had the post-race blues?  How did you beat it?

What is your BIG running goal for this summer or fall?



  1. It's funny, after a big race I'm usually a little bit relieved to not have to go on long runs and to be able to take it easy if I want to. Sometimes I even think, "I'm NOT doing another race for a looong time!" But then, sure enough, a few days passed and I've signed up for the next big thing :)

    1. I know! Almost every race I run theres a low point where I swear I am NEVER running another race again. But by that evening, I'm usually on the computer looking for another race. Tis our blessed curse, I suppose!

  2. Great post, and I have read about the feeling of 'Now what?' after finishing a race. However I have no personal experience, since I do not race. I run six times a week, without a future goal to participate in a race.