Jill Wheeler of the Wellfit Institute Gives Easy Solutions for Keeping your Head In The Game All Year Round.
Q: “I just finished my goal race and now I don’t really feel like doing anything. How can I start feeling jazzed about training again?”
A: Congratulations! You completed your goal race! Arduous hours of dedicated training paid off. Now that it’s over, you likely feel elated, proud and relieved.
But you also feel so unmotivated. What went wrong?
Nothing. It’s natural to experience letdown. Training intensely for a singular event is one of life’s great journeys, but it can also take so much time that once it’s over, you may feel empty. And athletes are not the only ones who experience feelings of letdown following a big event; know that what you are feeling is common.
It may be helpful to think of your training and racing schedule as seasons—different parts of the year have different functions. Now is the time to practice kindness and compassion towards yourself. It’s the perfect time to restore not only your muscles, but to also take a personal inventory of what you want in your life. Consider post-race downtime as an opportunity to create balance.
Here are a few practical tips to get you out of the blues and back in action!
Be prepared for the down time: You will be better equipped to deal with post-race letdown if you know it’s coming. Consider planning a vacation or even a special stay-cation where you indulge in some relaxing activities that you haven’t previously had time to enjoy. Schedule some time with friends, family or even start a new hobby.
Honor your accomplishment: Take the time to acknowledge yourself, your hard work and dedication. Plan a celebratory fun night out or get a massage. Without judgment, reflect on the positive and negative aspects of your race; learn what you can and move on.
Plan your next best thing: During this downtime consider training for a different kind of race, perhaps a relay, an adventure race or a completely different sport altogether. With downtime comes freedom and with an open mind, anything is possible!
New music: Seems simple, but when I am dragging my heels to start a new training plan, I indulge in an iTunes spending frenzy. Podcasts can also be a great way to connect with your favorite athletes and spark some motivation.
Talk about it: Misery loves company, so share your feelings with the close people in your life. Plan some fun runs and rides without the intensity and fall back in love with the journey. If speaking with friends and family isn’t working for you, you can always reach out to a professional.
Our minds and bodies are inextricably connected. We can’t do wrong by one and expect to be right as a whole. The mind needs time to recover, as do our soft tissues. Be patient, be grateful and know your motivation will grow again, just like the leaves on the trees after a long, eventful winter. (We Florida people are impatient and forget there is a thing called seasons). Let this be your reminder!