It's very common for runners to feel bummed-out, disappointed, sad, maybe even depressed after they finish a big race, like a marathon. After spending months training hard and focusing on a goal, you feel down and disconnected once the race is over. The training and preparation that was such a big part of your life and now it's gone.
The good news is that there are ways to fight the post-race blues, or at least soften the blow. Here are some things to try:
Be prepared for the letdown.Make plans for the weeks following your big race, so that you'll be distracted from that disappointed feeling. I know a lot of runners who plan a big trip after a marathon, which works perfectly if you're already traveling to the race destination. Sticking around and taking in some sites will be a nice way to celebrate your accomplishment. The timing works on two levels – you don't have to worry about training while you're away and the traveling prevents you from getting bummed-out that your race is over.
Review your race -- and then move on.If part of your sadness is due to the fact that you weren't happy about your performance, take some time to think about what went wrong. You may even want to write about it in your training journal or blog, to help you work through it. But don't dwell on it – spend a little analyzing it, and then move on to start thinking about your next race.
Appreciate your free time.Once your race is finished, you'll have a lot more time to enjoy parts of your life that you neglected during training. Spend more time with family and friends, catch up on your reading, pick up a new hobby, or get back to any other activities that you sacrificed while training.
Set a new goal.
The best way to cure the post-race blues is to decide what you want to do next. It doesn't have to be a big race, like a half or full marathon. You may want to train for a 10K, or just aim to run at least three days a week. You may even decide to try a totally new sport, like swimming or biking, to supplement your running.
Savor your accomplishment.Do a little bragging and make sure you have a prominent reminder -- a medal, bib, finisher's certificate, or photo -- of your race, so you don't lose sight of your achievement. And don't forget this quote from Dr. Seuss: "Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened." Treat yourself to a special marathoner's keepsake or a piece of marathon jewelry to celebrate your accomplishment.
What to Do After You Finish a Marathon