The Post-Race Blues: What it is and How to Deal with it!

with tips from LIV RACING ATHLETES

For months, you have trained, focused and dedicated so much of your time and energy on a goal event. No matter if you crush the competition or fall short of your expectations, your focus is now behind you. It is over, and now what? 

For athletes – whether racing is your career, or you just finished your first triathlon – the process of competing is the ultimate drug. Throughout the season, you develop an actual chemical dependency on training, racing and working towards a goal. When that rollercoaster comes to a screeching halt after the last race is over, we are left with a hole that was used to being filled with endorphins. It doesn’t matter how well you did (or didn’t do), that void is still there and can make you feel a sense of loss, worthlessness, low-energy, and downright sadness.  

First off, know that we have all felt post-race blues at one point or another and there is nothing wrong with you for feeling this way. Here’s what some of our Liv Racing athletes had to say about their own experiences with this all-too-familiar feeling:

“I can vividly recall three years ago after the 2016 Paralympic Games going through a period of post-race blues. For me, it didn’t kick in right away. I was riding the high of winning Gold for a few months with media interviews, trips and a visit to the White House in Washington, D.C. to meet President Obama and the First Lady. It must have been around 3 months after returning home when things quieted down. I had no races on the horizon, no coach, no team and not much else going on in my life. I felt very lost, almost as if I was wandering around in a forest with no direction to head. I had just accomplished the biggest goal in my life. I had no idea what would be next. Would I continue to race? Was there anything left I wanted to accomplish? Would I still love the sport? I had so many questions and no real answers to any of them. I had learned about post-race/ post-Olympic blues when I qualified for the games. We had heard from many athletes, some who’d found the success they dreamt of and others who did not. Even though it was a tough time for me, I was lucky to know what I was going through and to have a mentor who’d been through the same.”  Allysa Seely

“I used to believe these feelings were wrong, that there was something wrong with me, and the way I was feeling. Then I learned that these feelings are 100% natural, and actually to be expected at the end of each season or after a big goal event. Suppressing these feelings only perpetuate the them.”Serena Bishop Gordon

“It normally hits me 2 days afterwards and will only last a day where I would feel really down, unmotivated and even quite sad. It honestly took me years to work out what was happening and to notice a pattern. It didn’t seem to matter if I had a great race or a bad race, like clockwork 2 days after a big event I would feel mentally and emotionally very low.” Rae Morrison

“When I first started racing in my teens, I would get such a massive high from being at this exciting event, usually winning (since I was one of very few girls that raced), getting lots of attention, being surrounded by friends, getting all of these stimuli, it would inevitably be followed the next day by a deep low. In fact, my Mom would get extremely concerned, because I would be so lethargic and down. It has gotten less intense over the years, but I still experience these similar highs and lows around racing. I think part of it is the intense emotion and energy racing takes coupled with all of the excitement and hype, which is then followed by overall fatigue and the anticlimax of having to pack up and leave and go back to ‘normal life.’” Sandra Walter

“I’ve been racing bikes since I was 10, and I think I’ve always had this feeling to a certain degree. Most of the time, I call the few days after a race the “hangover” period. It’s when you spend all your spare time looking for photos, watching videos, and reading blogs about how great the race was. But I’ve never gone into a deep, dark place until after my last race of the season this year. For me, I just came off my biggest and busiest racing season yet, finished the season with an injury that didn’t allow me to race, and arrived home after a month of being on the road to a pile of work and home-owner stress. Even with a million things that I should have been doing, I lacked focus and motivation and felt hopeless, pessimistic, and lost. Putting a name to the post-race blues and talking with friends has helped to normalize it, understand it, and get past it.” Caroline Washam

Tips for Dealing with the Post-Race Blues

1. Acknowledge Your Accomplishments!

2. Give Your Feelings a Voice!

3. Treat Yourself/ Take a Break!

4. Add Something Fun to Your Calendar!

5. Surround Yourself with Friends and Family!  

6. Start Planning Your Next Race/Season/Adventure!

7. Don’t Be Afraid to Seek Help!

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