So you’ve spent the better part of a year training for an event that is one day of your whole athletic career. You live and breathe this event. You plan workout schedules, travel schedules and every meal, snack, and gel. There are people in your life, that you don’t live with, who are not into your sport, who have forgotten what you look like. So the day comes and the day goes, you get home and two weeks later it’s like there’s something missing, a void, a hole and you just aren’t motivated by anything. You’ve got the Post IronMan Blues! This condition applies to all types of keynote events marathons, triathlons, ultras… whatever your “A” race for the year was.
How do you tell if you have the Post Ironman Blues?
After a big race people can often feel a whole range of emotions once the initial high wears off. These emotions can often be negatively associated and include things such as sad, depressed, unmotivated, bored, moody, weepy, restless and grumpy. This is all normal and can be a sign that your body is not yet recovered. Even though you may be physically feeling okay there is still a lot of physiological breakdown going on.
How do you treat a case of the Post Ironman Blues?
Now is a great time to start thinking about 2015 goals and working on your bucket list of races. That doesn’t mean you need to commit to anything but just have some fun looking around and dreaming a little. Having a future event or goal even if it’s just an idea at this point will help combat the mental slump you might be in. Other Post Ironman treatments include:
- Sleep – It’s okay to let your body recover and don’t feel guilty. You have earned this!
- Fuel – Post race you will need to eat a diet a bit higher protein and fat than you would expect. Make sure you are fueling to allow recovery. Your body needs calories to repair itself. Gradually revise your diet over the weeks after a race to meet your current activity level.
- PLAY! – This is the time to do things you did not have time to do when training…take a yoga class or time to stretch, join your friends at the gym for a social workout, hike, be outside, spend time in the garden.
- Connect -Invest time in other areas of your life…spend time with your spouse, children or friends you did not get to see enough of. The gift of time is precious as we endurance athletes know. Plan a special day for someone who cheered you on through training ride after training ride, bad days, flat tires, heaps and heaps of dirty workout clothes and rang the cowbell like crazy on race day!
- Organize –Once you are rested do some cleaning or organizing you did not have time for when you were training. Catch up on all the ‘real life’ things you tabled while you were training. It will feel good to cross things off the to do list!
- Pamper! – Get a massage, go out to dinner and movie, wear non-workout clothes for a whole day, pamper yourself a bit. A little bit of TLC can go a long way.
Take some time and don’t jump back into training full time right away. Treat your body to the recovery it deserves and you will reap the benefit of all the hard work you put in.