You’ve spent many months training and preparing for the big day. You arrive in the Blue Mountains and immerse yourself in the madness and fun that is Ultra-Trail Australia. But then once the dust settles and you arrive back home feeling tired and sore, your mind starts to wander. For some, the weeks after a major event can be a real downer. So we’ve compiled a list of strategies to help you conquer those post race blues.
Reflect and Recover
The most important thing to do in the days after the race is to look back upon your run and assess the good, bad and ugly. Be honest with yourself and celebrate the achievements, but also find areas where you could improve. Also, use this time to recover. Let your body absorb the flogging and get stronger from having done it.
Thank Your Support Crew
Take some time to individually say thank you to all the people that helped you along the way. It’s a big sacrifice to spend hours on the trails training for a race like UTA, and often the folks around you bare some of the burden. Husbands, wives, kids, friends and work colleagues often play a role in getting you to the start line, so be sure to acknowledge them. Plus of course, there’s those that are there on the day, carrying bags, meeting you at checkpoints and then helping you down the stairs the morning after.
You’ve set a goal, worked hard to achieve it, and now you should reward yourself for having done so. But this doesn’t mean buying a Rolex or going on a holiday. The incentive should be intrinsic, however a little bit of something extra does wonders for future motivation. I always suggest that runners get/do something that will benefit their recovery or future running goals. A new pair of shoes or some apparel are easy options. A massage is always a great idea, as is a memento to remind you of the event, such as some event merchandise.
Find Your Next Goal
There’s nothing better than finishing an event and then setting about planning your next mission. It keeps you positive and excited about what lies ahead, which in turn will help get you out the door training again. I’m a huge fan of immediately setting about preparing for the next race, but typically I like the idea of said event being a contrast to the last one. So if you did UTA100, then why not give a road half marathon a go? Or if the 22km was your event at UTA, maybe take the plunge and give Surf Coast Century a crack?
Just because UTA is over, doesn’t mean the party has to end. It’s a good idea to still be part of that community by following the Facebook chatter, catching up with friends who did the event and talking about it, or writing a race report that you share with your family. The greater you are engaged with the experience, the more you get out of it. Plus, it helps you better reflect on the whole campaign and plan for next year.
Get Back Running
Yep, you need to recover, but don’t leave it too long before you start running again. Many people finish an epic like UTA and then strap on the kicks for months afterwards. Then when it comes to preparing for the next event, they have to start from square one. If you’ve managed to be a little bit active in the week after the race, then you can likely think about running within 7 to 10 days. Start with some easy 30 minute shuffles every second day. Then after a week of that you can slowly ramp up the volume.