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  • Writer's pictureThe Useless Runner

Now what? - The post-race blues

When I crossed the line of my first Ironman 70.3 Race, for which I had trained for 11 months, it suddenly came to me like a ton of bricks. Now what?.


When you train for something so hard and for so long, you sometimes forget about the journey, you forget about what that journey is teaching you, and what can you absorb from that journey to make it a reality in your daily life. The life you share day to day with your family, your friends, or your work colleagues.


Those 11 months I spent training also had an effect in my family, and the way we organized our life. Early bike rides on sundays, trips to the lake for a swim, long runs after work. All these things changed the dynamics of our life, and we adapted. My social life also changed, my diet changed, I started drinking less and less, and this also has an effect in the way other people may perceive you and the things you do.


"Why are you doing this?"

"You are crazy."

"Just relax, everything in moderation."


But what about those things you learned from that journey?. What about the people who took inspiration on what you did, and tried to improve and get healthier and maybe excercise a little more?. What about the good habits your children started to see in you and want to imitate. Like going for a run with you, or ride their bikes, or going to the pool. The best bit of this journey for me was having my kids cheer me up in a couple of races. It was amazing!.


You see, the post-race blues are a natural occurrence. It does not have a proper clinical definition, nor is something written in the scientific journals (it could be linked to depression and other serious conditions, so if you feel you need it, you should always consult a professional), and yet, at some level, we experience it.


It may be harder for some people, easier for others, but they are there. That void and lack of purpose just gets bigger and bigger as the days go by, and the sense of accomplishment and excitement about reaching that goal is suddently gone.


What do you do then?.


A few days ago I reached one of my goals for this year. I ran a half marathon and got a new personal record. It was something that was planned for later in the year, but the training and preparation went very well, and the objective was completed earlier. It was a great accomplishment and I felt very good about it.


The following days I did some light training, had a slow run, and then took 2 days off excercise and diet. This is a key turning point where things can go sideways. In the old days, I would go on a spiral of no training, relaxed food and start giving my self a couple more days, then a couple more days, and the yo-yo effect would kick in.


What do I do now that is different?.


I am conscious of my choices.

I stick to my plan.

I write it down on paper.

I visualize what is coming.

I talk to people about it (Those who are part of the process) and make sure we discuss what is coming.

I go back to my baseline eating plan and intermittent fasting.

I get moving again.


The last one is probably the most important one of all for me. Once I start moving again, even going for a walk, an easy run, or an easy bike ride, helps me feel progress has started again. If you do not start moving, you eventually continue to drag into that void of doing nothing and convincing yourself that you can take just one more day, and then another.


All of this comes down to developing good habits. Ones that will last for a life time, and not just for the season, or the year.


Work hard on establishing good habits and good discipline. These are the pillars of success in my experience, and are the main 2 things when it comes to succeeding at doing the things you love.


Someone once told me that the key to succeed on anything is to 'Master the basics'. This holds true for me to this day.


Breathe.

Eat.

Train.

Rest.

Repeat.


Thanks for reading.


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