Wow! After months of training you’ve finally made it across the finish line of your first race. How do you feel?
Well, umm, what do I do now? Sure I have this finisher’s metal or something but…there’s this whole in my life that my training and my daydreaming about finishing filled. This is totally normal. Training may suck at first, but soon you learn to love it and you look forward to even the most grueling workouts. You enjoy the challenge and the runners high, wow, who would want to live without that.
As you approach the event you have been working towards, start looking beyond it. What are you going to do afterward. Is this the only race you are ever going to do? if not, you should find another one. If it is, then find something else physical to do. Losing those endorphins creates a drop in your mood that can last for days or even weeks.
Future plans don’t have to be running related either. There are other aspects of life set up family time or social events. Take a class in something you have always wanted to learn but haven’t had time to do.
Talk with other runners about it. Having someone validate your feelings and provide some guidance when you are down can help you start to pull yourself out of the dumps. Just knowing it’s normal can be enough to lift you a little.
Evaluate how the season or race went with an objective eye not critical. Bashing yourself for mistakes in training or during a race is not productive. Look at where you struggled and find ways that would help you improve in those aspects.
Running for me has never been about the races. It’s always been about the training. Races are just a new place to run and a staffed route (with amazing volunteers I might add). Even when I don’t have a race coming up, I maintain my running schedule, including some pretty high miles.
I like to run races, but if I can’t for some reason, I try to stay involved in the running community through volunteering at events.
If I’m injured that’s when the blues kick in, because it prevents me from running. How do I combat this, I cross train like a boss! I try to keep my mind off of it as much as I can, but also stay optimistic and realistic.