Feeling a bit lost or melancholic following a big race, like the London Marathon? Here’s how you can get over the post-race blues, as inspired by my article for Red Bull.
Have you ever returned from a race and felt a little blue? All your hard training and work has ended and you have nothing tantalising on the horizon?
The good news: this is perfectly normal. Whether you’ve been training for 6-months, a year, 2 years or more for a race, the blues can effect anyone and here are 10 ways to get over them.
1. Begin planning your next race!
When you can’t live in the moment of the training or event, it’s best to live in the anticipation of the event!
Research by psychologists Gilovich, Killingsworth and Amit Kumar has shown that the anticipation of future experiences, such as planning a race, is just as enjoyable as the experience itself.
Anticipation for an experience, really is a driver of happiness. Don't book a rebound race just for the sake of quickly filling a hole though – get about planning something huge for you!
2. Live in the athlete mindset
When you return to reality, you don’t have to leave your sporting lifestyle behind.
You don’t need to be training for a race to live in the mindset of an athlete. While you rest after your race, focus on recovery and try something new at home that is fun, but not too intense. I’ve taken up Yoga and gone on adventurous weekends after races!
3. Invest your time in other parts of your life
We sacrifice so much when planning and executing an adventure and now is the time to make up for it.
Invest the time you would’ve spent on your adventure, on other parts of your life that you want to improve and simplify.
When I completed my Ironman journey, I really focused on my business and enhanced my skills by attending online courses and live summits.
Just be careful not to do everything at once, so put your energy into one or two things.
4. Exercise + the outdoors = instant mood boost
If you're feeling low and lacking motivation, get outside or in the gym and release those endorphins!
Be aware not to over train, as I’ve said, you want to focus on recovery, but why not try some fun exercise like dancing, walking or hiking in the UK!
The North and South Downs are my playground, I love long walks along the Chantries and St. Martha’s. Besides, why worry about your next race when you've got some beautiful British countryside to explore…
5. Start Journalling
Journalling is a really great way to reflect on your thoughts and feelings and go deeper. To share the things that excite, interest and scare you.
Writing your journal by hand is very cathartic, as it slows you down, releasing stress and helping you to get past anxious emotions.
It can also help remind you of who you are, your ambitions and desires, and whether you’re living the life you really want.
6. Go with the flow
If you’re feeling low on energy or finding it tough to mentally push through challenges at work or elsewhere in your life, this is a sign of fatigue.It's ok to relax once in a while, particularly following a big race (hello, Netflix)!
Don’t put pressure on yourself and push through it. Take time to enjoy life’s other pleasures, too. Learn a new skill, take up a new hobby, or for a quick happiness boost, listen to your favourite upbeat song, connect with somebody or do a good deed.
7. Gratitude Practice
When we come back from a race, we often focus on how different our reality is to our amazing adventure. We need to change this and see all the positive things in our life.
A gratitude practice is my favourite way to do this.
Each morning I write down 3 different things I’m grateful for and in the evening, I write down 3 things I’m grateful for that happened that day, from a great latte to access to clean water.
8. Spend time with family and friends
Family and friends may not be too interested in a minute-by-minute account of your race, as I’ve discovered! However, this doesn’t have to stop you from remembering your race and basking in your achievement.
I’ve framed my favourite pictures, hang my medals proudly, assembled a photo album, written a short story and about to release an audiobook. Find your own way of joyfully remembering your awesome race. Good luck!