This is a piece I wrote about beating that post Ultra race blues. But let’s face it, you don’t have to have completed an Ultra to the get the lows of post race come downs! It can happen to anyone after completing any distance. Hopefully this will set you straight 🙂
You have completed your first Ultra! You rock! You are on top of the world. You have regaled your step by step account to countless millions. Life is amazing! But what happens next has caught even the most experienced racer out. It’s natural.
You have exhausted yourself both physically and mentally. After a while the plaudits stop coming in, the muscles begin to feel heavy and tired, the old grey matter begins to feel demotivated and your corner sofa is beginning to swallow you up. Before you know it, you’re in a funk with no motivation and the thoughts of even stretching for your phone to order yet another pizza becomes an exertion that feels like that would surpass the efforts expelled during your Ultra.
Well fear not! Here are some easy ways to help you get back in the game.
1. Do a fun activity with family or friends.
There seems to be an endless stream of fun/novelty runs popping up all over the country. Try something that is a bit of craic that won’t put you under too much physical duress. Park runs/Color runs/zip lining/orienteering/rock climbing/Go karting…something/anything. Just get active again without the competitive edge been thrown in the mix.
2. Take a break.
Train, eat, sleep, repeat.
You have broke your backside doing these for what must have seemed an eternity so you could kick ass in your Ultra whilst most likely sacrificing quality time with your loved ones. There was probably an unspoken trade off. “I’ll support you while you train/race, but when it’s over it’s my time”. Some much needed r’n’r in the sun or whatever floats “their” boat is just what the doctor ordered.
3. Flaunt your feathers
You have completed your first ever Ultra, let the world know. Whether it is a race t-shirt, a jacket, a buckle, wear it! If it’s going to collect the kids from football, going shopping, doing a park run, WEAR IT! Those who know what it means, will give you their silent respect, those who don’t may ask what its about, and you can sit back and watch their jaws drop when you explain in surgical detail the mileage and altitude you had to clock up to earn one of those bad boys.
4. Find a new challenge
Sign up to another race. Set yourself another goal. An achievable one. It may not have to be an Ultra. Tame it back! This will keep you hungry. You are giving yourself something to aim for. There is nothing more boring than training just for the sake of it. Reassess, realign and refocus! Before you know it, you will have the excel spreadsheet out and you will be speaking in the language of training schedules once again.
5. Go your own way
Remember that new trail that you have always wanted to do but never got around to because it wouldn’t have fit in with your training regime, do it! The thoughts of going back over those same roots can be mentally bruising. You don’t have to run the new trail, hike it, spend a day at it, relax and fill those lungs.