So, Now What? - Eight Tips For Surviving The Post Race Letdown

It is fall. The season is winding down and even over for most. For some, this is a relief, for others it is a bit of a “what do I do now” kind of feeling.

If your big “A” Race is over, (you know, the one that has been consuming every waking moment for the past 6 months) it can be almost a feeling of depression and loss. Like, “something” is missing in your life. This is an even stronger feeling, if this was a first race for you and now it is over.  You have gotten into a daily routine of following a training schedule, watching your diet, planning weekend long rides, going to bed early and getting up early to train day after day. As annoying as it may have been at times, once you lose that rigidity, you miss it.

As a coach, I see and hear this often. Athletes asking, “Well, what should I do now that my race is over. I feel kind of sad.”

Here are some things to keep you motivated and help you transition into NEXT season!

REFLECT: The first thing to do in that first post- race week, is to take some time to reflect on your season, your training and your race. Write down some points that you will be able to look back on. Things such as:

  • What were the best aspects about your race and season?
  • What things may not have gone so well and how you can change them?
  • What goals did you accomplish and what are some goals that you did not?
  • What were some of the main lessons you learned about yourself both as a person and athlete this past season?

FAMILY/FRIENDS: Remember all of those times your friends and family asked you to do something and you had to turn them down because you had a long ride, or a long run, or a  long swim….or…well you get the message. Now it is time to pay them back with the gift of your time. Spend some good quality time with your family and friends!

PROJECTS: Speaking of family; how many work and household projects did you put on hold while you were training? These are the types of things that get put on the back burner while in the midst of heavy training. The off season can be used to not only catch up, but work ahead for the upcoming season.  

EXERCISE: There is a difference between “training” vs “exercise.”  Training is following a prescribed workout that is on a schedule, sticking to heart rate zones, power zones and pace zones. Exercise is waking up in the morning and deciding if you FEEL like swimming, biking or running vs what is on “the schedule.” When on a schedule, maybe you wake up and really want to bike, but it is a “swim day.” So you swim. Well, now is your chance to do what you feel like, when you feel like! It might even be fun to try some of those “workout classes” all of your friends participate in, but you never have time to try out.

ASSESS LIMITERS: While on the topic of “exercise,” now is the time to decide which discipline is holding you back the most. Once you decide upon this, or maybe your coach has already let you know this, you decide on a plan of attack to strengthen this limiter.  Maybe your limiter isn’t even the swim, bike or run. Maybe it is strength or body composition. Maybe you need to clean up your day to day nutrition, or figure out a fueling plan that will work on your gut once the season rolls back around. This is the time to work out all of those little “kinks.”

STRENGTH TRAIN: All triathletes benefit from a focus on off season strength training. Ideally, strength training should be done year-round; however, it is usually the first thing to get dropped once the volume of race season picks up. Use the off season to get some extra days of good solid strength building in.

PLAN: Look ahead to the next year and decide upon a race schedule. Look at your personal calendar and see what races you would like to do and how they fit. If you have a coach, you may want to consult with them to help you round everything out. If not, choose one or maybe 2 big “A” Race(s) that you can focus your whole season around. Once you have chosen the important one or two, find the smaller, less important races as “fillers” to round out your season plan!

FUN: Finally, last but not least; HAVE FUN! Triathlon season is very demanding. We are extremely disciplined during the season and sacrifice greatly. Use the off season to just have fun, doing what YOU enjoy doing!

Happy Off Season! 



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