National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
You’ve trained long and hard to complete a marathon. After months of faithfully running according to your marathon training schedule, the moment of triumph has finally arrived. You cross the finish line, arms raised triumphantly in the air. You just ran your best race, shattering your previous PR by double digit minutes. Months of hard running have finally paid off.
Now what are you going to do?
This state of mind is called the after-race blues, or the post race depression. It affects more than just runners. Athletes who have finished a major event, such as a marathon, a triathlon, or some other endurance event, are once again faced with a void that had been previously filled by their training endeavors.
No longer can the hours of the day be spent running along the road. You’ve got to recover, and recovery requires taking time off from intense training. Unfortunately, this is difficult for many athletes to cope with. What in the world can fill the new found void in your life?
Ways To Overcome Post Race Depression
- Spend Time With Your Family And Friends
Your friends and family missed you while you were running. They sacrificed for you. Now is the perfect time to catch up with what’s been going on in their lives. Go out for a night on the town. Go bowling, take a drive up the mountains, go out to see the latest blockbuster, or simply sit down and talk. A lot happened while you were out pounding asphalt. Find out what. It’ll keep your feelings of depression at bay.
- Do Something Else You Love To Do
Okay, so running is your first love. That will never change. But surely there are other activities you do. Do you love to do woodwork? Design and build a project that will take you a few weeks to do. Is writing one of your pleasures? While you would have been out running, instead opt to sit down and write a story or a short novel. Even vowing to complete a video game will work. Whatever activity you choose to do, make sure it will be a project you can do for at least a couple of weeks.
- Maintain Your Level Of Fitness
Yes, your body needs to recover from the marathon, but that doesn’t mean you need to stop exercising completely. You’re likely in the best shape of your life. You’ll regret it if you completely abstain from workouts. Get yourself into a good cross-training regimen. Do some light aerobic work and a little bit of strength training. Get your heart rate up and tone some of that muscle.
- Give Yourself Time
It’s natural to have post race depression after any marathon or other race. The bigger the event, the worse the depression. Remember that time heals all wounds. Eventually, you’ll be able to get back into a regular running program and feel that life isn’t so bleak. This period of depression will pass.