After months of hard training, preparation and fine-tuning for Comrades don’t be surprised if you’re starting to feel a little depressed.
Following the completion of an up Comrades your window for milking the fact that you’ve run 90km’s is a little smaller than it would be after a down-run. Walking with a well-deserved shuffle is definitely going to attract attention and get anyone you chat to asking you why you’re limping. This is the opportunity you’ve been waiting for to proudly announce, “Because I ran Comrades this last Sunday.” Of course once the shuffle goes, and let’s be honest, you can only fake it for so long, the attention from your accomplishment begins to fade and a little bit of depression sets in.
This is very normal.
Suddenly the glory days are behind you, you’re no longer up at some ridiculous hour to ensure you get a decent training run in before work and the scale is moving in the wrong direction after one too many post-race reward binges. Add to this the fact that you’ve poured every spare ounce of energy into thinking about this race. Oh, and then of course there’s the possibility that you may not have reached the goal you set for yourself.
Ok. I get it, I’m depressed. What now?
The first and most important step following a key race is to sit down and assess the race. Think about your training over the last few months. Think about your build-up and your sharpening phase. Think about the week before the race, race morning and the race itself. Ask yourself what worked and what didn’t. What went wrong and why? What needs to change next time round? In other words write up a full race report. You’ll be amazed at what you learn from each racing experience when you begin to put your thoughts on paper.
The second step is to identify a new goal. If you think about your main race goal, in this case Comrades, it was almost all you thought about. It was just about the only thing you wanted to speak about. It was pretty much the only thing that mattered to you and in the space of 12 hours it was all over and a thing of the past. Comrades was your goal. Get hold of a race calendar and look for upcoming events. Something, anything you can get your teeth into, even if it’s a relatively small goal by your standards. Once you’ve found a goal, enter and pay for it, that way you’ve committed to the goal and you are far more likely to start getting excited about it.
The third step is to get back on the road. Give yourself enough recovery to allow the damaged muscles to heel up and then get back on the road. If you go into hibernation for the next three months or so you will lose almost everything you’ve worked so hard to build leading up to Comrades. However, if you take two or three weeks to rest and recovery and then get back onto the road you will find your motivation levels returning pretty quickly. And because you’ve essentially done a massive amount of base-training the next few months are a great opportunity to run some PB’s over shorter distances.
Well done on taking Part in the 90th installment of The Comrades Marathon and here’s to some PB’s over the shorter distances in the coming months.