Then you come down

Post-race euphoria. That feeling when you cross the finish line and emotion rushes over you like a wave. You want to cling on to reality for fear of being swept away. But you don’t. You let it carry you far, far to sea, riding on the endorphin crest.

You’ve been training for this moment for what seems like an eternity. You’ve sacrificed a ‘normal’ life; training sessions over evenings in the pub. Early morning runs rather than Sunday morning lie-ins.

And then it’s over and reality resumes. Back at work, back to normality. After the congratulations it’s heads down. Let’s just get through the working day as quickly as possible.

Then you come down.

Physical stiffness sets in, mental fatigue takes hold. Everything feels, well, a bit hollow. The race feels like a distant memory. You double check your medal; did it all really happen?

The post-race comedown really sucks. But, as you listen to your body, post-race, take time to listen to your mind. As you re-fuel on protein, have a sports massage and take a recovery break from exercise, take time to allow your mind to regain its equilibrium. Do things that make you happy. Watch your favourite film. Laugh. Spend time with friends. People that make you feel happy and good about yourself. Hell, plan your next race.

Go to a place you love, a place you feel at one with. Breathe deeply, slowly taking in your surroundings. My post-race blues tend to take me to Pen Ponds in Richmond Park. Sitting on a bench, watching the world go by, thinking about nothing in particular. Letting go, allowing the mind to slowly reset itself. Because spending time in a place I love lets me reconnect with myself and recharge mentally.

It’s normal to feel down after a big race. It’s not a reason for concern or the root of a more serious problem. But realising this can be the first step to recalibrating the mind and riding out the melancholy.

There are plenty more races out there, races that won’t enter themselves. After all, don’t be sad that it’s over, be proud of what you achieved.

Pen Ponds

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6 thoughts on “Then you come down

  1. Ah, marathon melancholia.

    What goes up, must come down.

    As I once wrote about post-marathon blues, “Marathon melancholia is just an emotion – so ride it out. As the ancient proverb says, “This too shall pass”.

    Hope you’re doing ok, Cat. Your ultra-marathon achievement is beyond awesome! xo

    • I read your post about it when I started blogging – I think that was when I realised that it really was a ‘thing’ and not something wrong with me. Thank you, ultra Liz xx

  2. I felt a bit like that after Manchester – not exactly down, but a bit aimless. It reminded me of after getting married! Riding my bike for a while helped, it was a break from running but still being active. And now York marathon training starts!

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