The take-away of this study? Don't take running away from people who need it or they turn into cranky *ssholes. This week I was reminded of why I typically avoid big races. I can't stand the post-race blues. I'm irritable and withdrawn. I tried to find a job that allows me to run/hike in the mountains all day. I could be a Ridge Runner on the AT...but that would require me making peace with the bears. I've always battled post-race lows for as long as I can remember. It usually consists of 3 weeks of being near miserable, until I can start training again. I can't imagine how bad it must be for athletes post-Olympics. Bob Bowman, coach of Michael Phelps, actually brought it up in a recent interview. I think it's safe to say there are a lot of endurance athletes out there who are exercise addicts. We happen to have an addiction that is positive...most of the time. You often hear of drug addicts turning to running or triathlon in recovery. It's merely switching a destructive addiction for a constructive one. Although I will always experience some post-race blues (it's physiology after all), I do have a few tricks up my sleeve to help me get through it.
1) Gain a new perspective. I like to plan a big trip and/or see family in my time off from training. It keeps my mind off of the lack of structure & makes me appreciate the extra time to see friends and family.
2) Make a plan. Most of us cherish the training plan (whether its on paper or just in your head). After a couple days of rest, I scribble down a list of possible races for next season as well as an off-season training plan.
3) Stay active. Recovery-yes, sedentary behavior-no. A lot of athletes associate recovery with having to be on the couch. No wonder crazy starts to set in after 24 hours. Go for a cruise on your bike, take a walk/hike, go to yoga class, and/or try a new sport for the 1st time.