Just in time for a lot of our WOOT’rs completing races all over the world, this week’s blog is by Corinne Williams. Thank you, Corinne!
“Your race is simply a victory lap celebrating the completion of your training.”
By the time I toe-the-line, I have put in several hours, days, months, and even years of preparation for that moment. Whether reading about running, strength training for running, recovering in preparation for running, drinking less alcohol so I don’t feel crappy while running, eating healthy to fuel my running, or even spending fewer hours with friends and family to get to bed early for early morning running, the months leading up to race day hold one main focus… running. Maybe not the most healthy approach to life, but it pays off come race day.
Race day comes…Races are a celebration to the human spirit and strength. Most races are even promoted as parties on the go! With bands blasting music, spectators banging cowbells, kids giving high-fives, and volunteers passing out treats. It’s hard not to lose yourself in the excitement of race day. Plus, you’ve worked so hard to get there. You’ve earned that celebration! No matter how tough some parts of that race may get, you’re relentless, forward, progress gets you to that finish line. Now is the time to revel in your triumph.
So now sometime has gone by and everyone you know, plus a few random strangers you’ve cornered at the supermarket, have heard your “fascinating” tale of triumph on the race course. Plus, your husband and kid are worn thin by the constant reminders of your greatness (haha…okay…that just might be my family that is now sick of hearing about my awesomeness!). Now what? That after race glow is starting to fade and turn dark…no plan, no goal, no focus. Race day is over and done with. It’s easy to get stuck in a funk, but we must move on.
What to do? Depending on your circumstances and needs, here are a few options to cure those post race blues.
Recover: Take at least a week to recover from your race! That means no running! Okay, I know most runners, including myself, will ignore that advice. So, if you choose to run, take it easy. Go out with friends, or run with your family. Just take it slow. Let those toenails grow back and those chronic aches fade. This is your time to allow your body to heal and refresh.
Catch up: Take the extra time to catch up with other things you’ve missed while training. Have a looming project deadline at work? Put in those extra hours into finishing it. I take this after race period to get in some spring cleaning. Sometimes the deep cleaning is put on hold while in the midst of peak mileage and the home gets be be a bit chaotic. Put your work and home life in order! If you don’t have to worry about work, sit back, guilt-free, and catch up on binge watching that favorite show of yours on Netflix.
Socialize: No early morning Saturday runs! Take advantage of your break and get out to socialize. Contact all those non-runner friends (if you have any left) that you have not had the time for and go out! Build those friendships up, so when you slip into training mode again, your friends will understand and forgive.
Develop: Developing your hobbies may save your sanity if, God-forbid, you’re ever out for an injury. This may be a good time to get out all those old race shirts and make them into a quilt. Volunteer for a local race or kids athletic program. Or, bake a pie, and eat it! After all, you need to replenish all those lost calories!
Plan: Sometimes after races, I feel invincible and want to immediately jump into the next race. But I find that I go into the next race stronger and better prepared if I take some time to pause, reflect, and build a plan based on lessons learned from my previous training. Instead of flowing directly into the next “A” race, maybe plan on running a few races that work on your weaknesses. If you love the long slow trudge of endurance races, try a shorter race to work on speed. Or, if you love the fast pounding of the pavement, try out the challenge of trails. Examine your old race plan. Figure out what worked for you and build upon that with your new training plan.
Celebrate: Yes, the big race celebration is over and done with, but that does not mean you should be over it! Continue celebrating you and all you’ve accomplished. Even if it wasn’t your greatest race, you still took on that challenge and that should be celebrated! Find a special place to display your medals or rearrange your trophies. Frame your favorite race photo and put it on display. Once all your non-runner friends are over your race day memories, go out to lunch to replay the race memories with your running partners. Celebrate your running partners for their part in getting you fit and excited to race! Don’t stop celebrating your awesome accomplishments and prepare for many more celebrations to come!
Looking forward to your next race day...After the all the planing, preparation, and final culmination of race day, you’ve earned some rest. Embrace it! Don’t let the down time after race day bring you down. Use this rest time to recover, catch up, socialize, develop, plan, and celebrate! This lull in hyper vigilant training will help give your life balance and prepare you for the next big race.
Great ideas for recovery and those pesky post race blues. Congratulations on your amazing finish at the 2016 HK100, Corinne!!