Post race depression is quite common but yet again something that isn’t really talked about. These feelings of depression can be quite overwhelming and take us by surprise, yes running releases amazing endorphins but things like injury, bad races, training ruts can all mess around with our heads. These feelings can be especially common after you have trained so hard for a goal race like a marathon and even if you had a good run you may be feeling unsure of where to go next because of these unexpected feelings. There may be a big hole in your life now where the long training runs once were, training for a specific event makes you focus on your diet and your lifestyle so when it suddenly vanishes and the euphoria of achieving what you set out to achieve has diminished you could be left feeling as flat as Flat Stanley!
If the race didn't go as planned or if you didn't make the start line due to injury or if you ran an amazing PB you could still suffer from post race depression or runners blues, don’t worry there is help at hand. Try not to underestimate these feelings because they can leave you drained and down about not only our running but also our lives in general. You will also be tired, running a half marathon is hard and it's a long way, so be kind to yourself and rest. Once you acknowledge that it is really normal to feel this way it can put things into perspective and you can put some constructive plans in place to make you feel better and prevent it from happening again.
Know What's Next
Try and think about what’s going to happen next, learn from what went right and what may have gone wrong. Would you have done the training differently, if you are injured did you do too much too soon. Try and plan for just another 4-6 weeks and include in these plans very specific recovery runs. These can include cross training, we have fantastic leisure facilities at Holly Hill that you can pay as you go. There are some brilliant sessions on there at all times of the day and night, have a go at some, try something new; spinning is a great example of low impact training that is a great fat burning exercise and any cross training will compliment your running sessions and your running in the long term.
Have some Post-Race Goals That Aren't About Racing
These can even be goals that have nothing to do with running, learn to swim ;), decorate a room, enjoy a no pressure park run, try a different park run venue, volunteer at a park run or at a local race, give something back and don’t hide away.
Get back out there and run
When we are consumed by the training plan that has taken over our lives for the last 3 months and are focused on pace, energy gels, early morning runs, extra runs before a session we can forget the sheer joy of getting out there and running; no pressure, no watch just for the pleasure of it, be pleased that you are able to run, don’t try to accomplish anything until you are ready. If you injury has prevented you from running, start back slowly, look at some races coming up, try a different run and focus on getting fit enough again to train for another goal.
I’ve always said running is hard and it has been a huge source of angst in my life but I stand firm that as runners we know enough to know that most things in life do pass and are not permanent. Take comfort in the resources available to you, the community that we have created, come and help out at the beginner's, talk to your running buddies at RunVerity and do the best to make sure that any runners blues you may have won’t last for long.