A 3-week Plan to Beat the Post-Race Blues

You did great! You just completed a bucket list goal by finishing your first marathon. So, why do you feel so depressed and anxious? That unsettling feeling of emptiness and aimlessness after competing in a big race is common among athletes. But, don’t worry! It’s completely normal.

Sports psychologist Dr. Kate F. Hays says “Completing a major feat, into which you’ve poured a lot of time, energy, intention, and identity —maybe money, inconvenience, and sacrifice, as well —means that among other things, you’ll probably feel some degree of let-down when it’s ended.” And, the one thing that many runners do to deal with stress and anxiety is run, something you’re not supposed to do in the days following a marathon.

How to Beat the Marathon Blues

Week 1

  1. Eat. Refuel and reload with plenty of proteins and healthy vegetables.
  2. Sleep. Sleeping is the most effective way to relieve stress and take care of your body.
  3. Find a new hobby. Take a cooking class, plan a trip, or build a model airplane.
  4. Walk. You can’t run, but you can enjoy a nice leisurely walk in the park.
  5. Share. Talking about the race experience with others is cathartic.

Week 2

  1. Dream big. Research and register for your next big event. Triathlon? Marathon? Relay?
  2. Develop a plan. Consult with your coach, or begin drafting a new training plan.
  3. Return slowly. Run or walk (as you feel) with no more than an hour on your feet. Easy does it.

Week 3

  1. Reverse-Taper. Slowly build your mileage and intensity.
  2. Listen to your body. Any signs of injury or discomfort should sound alarms.
  3. Let your spirit guide you. Return to normal training at the end of the month if you’re physically, mentally, and emotionally ready.

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