Post Race Blues

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on July 27, 2009

I think I have figured it out!


I believe I am suffering from Post Race Blues.

This past week has been nothing short of pulling teeth to get myself to workout.

You’ve probably heard me moaning and complaining on twitter about trying to get myself motivated to workout!

After my 10-mile race, I felt amazing…on cloud nine and barely sore. I only had to take 1 day off for recovery, and then I was able to workout last Tuesday.

But. I. have. just. been. dragging.

I’m sure the weather is also partly to blame. We’ve had rain literally every day this past week which has kept me inside on the treadmill.

But today, after a rather tormenting workout on the treadmill, I started to wonder:

Is there such a thing as Post Race Blues or Post Race De-Motivation?

Now after my 10k race, I had oodles of motivation. I wanted to go for a run and re-experience that race ‘high’ that I felt. But since the 10 miler, I haven’t felt a big urge to run. I’m sure it has something to do with the rain, but I also think that I might be suffering from a mild case of Post Race Blues!

So of course the first thing I did when I got off the treadmill today was Google my theory. And of course, I found several articles on this very subject. The most popular term I found was ‘Post Race Depression’. I don’t like to call what I am feeling depression; although I am sure that does happen to some people! I am dealing with some major lack of motivation here!

I found an article called Post Race Depression: How to overcome the blues after a marathon”.

The beauty about this article is that it can apply to any form of exercise or training. Many of you compete in various sports or athletic events and have probably felt the same thing. I know I used to feel post-playoff blues after our softball tournaments when the season drew to a close. And I always feel a bit blue when hockey season ends (lol)!

In the article Tyler Cash offers some ways to cope with post race blues:

1. Catch up with your family and friends

Training for a race can really deplete our time- especially if one is training for a marathon. Tyler suggests reconnecting with family and friends and painting the town red!

2. Do something else you love to do

Everyone tends to have at least a couple activities they enjoy. For me, I love hiking. The weather has been preventing me from doing so, but the next nice day I plan to get out and hike for a change of pace.

3. Maintain your level of fitness

Tyler says, “Yes, your body needs to recover from the marathon, but that doesn’t mean you need to stop exercising completely.” In the back of my mind I have been thinking, ‘I ran a 10 mile race last week so I don’t need to push it on with my workout intensity.’ While I think that is true when the body is in recovery following the race, I also think I was using this as an excuse to slack off.

4. Time heals all wounds

Tyler reminds us that this too shall pass. Soon you will be back into your normal training regime and focusing on a new goal. I have signed up for the Toronto Half Marathon as a way to encourage myself to get back into the game.


So yes, my exercise funk will pass, as will the bad weather. It is comforting to know that I am not the only one who has gone through something like this!

With that being said, I also think that part of my de-motivation has been my body actually being more tired than normal. I don’t read many articles on lethargy following a race (it’s mostly just on muscle soreness), but I have felt quite lethargic for the past week. I’m sure a lot of it is mental, but it can’t be entirely.

Today’s question:

have you ever suffered from Post Race Blues? What what it from and how did you feel? Did it affect your normal exercise routine or motivation?


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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Katherine July 27, 2009 at 7:42 pm

I’ve definitely suffered from post-race blues! Training and racing are so much fun, but when it’s all over, then what?! But you know what? It’s really a great time to catch up on things you hadn’t been able to do – more yoga, pilates, basking in the glory of your fabulous race. Whatever suits your fancy! You’ll get motivated again, don’t worry. Just don’t force it!


MarathonVal July 27, 2009 at 7:51 pm

I’ve felt this many times, and actually after my first half marathon and then later after my first full marathon it is a VERY intense, low grade depression. I’ve talked to many marathoners who have experienced the same thing!

Although you certainly shouldn’t feel like you need to jump back into working out until you are ready (and shouldn’t feel guilty if you just don’t feel like it), I suggest signing up for another event, even just a 5K or a fun run – it will help get you motivated to get back into the swing of things and it will bring the excitement back!


She-Fit July 27, 2009 at 7:57 pm

WOW! This is very interesting. I had never heard of post race depression, but it makes sense. Love your tip of signing up for another one though. Gives great motivation!


Rosey Rebecca July 27, 2009 at 8:03 pm

Don’t worry!! You’ll get back into it! I think this happens with all things we look forward to for a long time!!


ttfn300 July 27, 2009 at 8:21 pm

definitely!! after i did my first tri it totally hit… it was like a “now what”. this too shall pass as they say ;) having another goal helps


Run Niki Run July 27, 2009 at 8:25 pm

I definitely had post-race blues after my half marathon. I knew I had to take a couple days off to recover, but then I was like “why bother running a measley 3 miles, but I don’t feel like running 10….” haha. It went on for a while where I wasn’t really working out at all, but over the last couple weeks I am getting into running again and I signed up for another half marathon as motivation!


lesley July 27, 2009 at 8:27 pm

May you soon recover from your post race blues! ; )


Kathleen July 27, 2009 at 8:39 pm

I understand. Completely.
Before completing any sort of running race, I was content to just run everyday for exercise/stress-relief. However, its SO much more rewarding to run as training, as a way to push your limits!
I thought you signed up for the half-marathon, though?


leslie July 27, 2009 at 8:50 pm

the concept sounds logical. what goes up must come down right? you reached an amazing high, and now you’re probably dragging because exercise hasn’t been the same as that experience. i’m sure you’ll get back into it soon! i also think the body has a way of telling us when we need a break – a few days with less motivation for me are always later followed by great workouts. it’s all about balancing everything out!


Amanda July 27, 2009 at 8:51 pm

I definitely felt the post-race blues after my half-marathon in November. It was kindof like, Now What!? I had been running before work in the freezing cold, and I took my lack of motivation as a reason to switch it up! I joined a yoga studio and started going to the gym more often. My best advice is don’t force running if your heart isn’t in it! You don’t want to resent it!! You’ll get the urge soon enough :)


Kathy (Moving Beyond Perfection) July 27, 2009 at 8:56 pm

Angela! I just read your tweet about the spider on my blackberry! I can’t tweet at work (it’s blocked), but omg, if it’s stil there SQUASH it with your swifter! LOL. There was one on my bedroom ceiling the other night and after panic for 20 minutes (b/c I wanted to SLEEP), I finally realized I could kill it with my swifter which reaches the ceiling, and that I did! Made me so happy! HAHA sorry if that sounded violent, I hate bugs!!!


Heather @ Health, Happiness, and Hope July 27, 2009 at 9:19 pm

I can totally see where you are coming from… preparing for the race and the race itself gave you such a high that the post-race mood feels like such a downer. But it sounds like you are doing the right thing with spending time with your family and keeping yourself busy. Hope the blues pass soon! :)



EatingRD July 27, 2009 at 9:20 pm

So you’re not super woman!? I thought I was the only one here dragging sometimes lol I felt like that once I stopped dancing religiously like I used to. It just felt different to not do what I’ve been doing since I was 8 years old. I still go to a class occasionally, but I really miss it. I have found a new love for cycling though! I sure hope you get to feeling better. It’s a very interesting topic, yes there is post-race nutrition, but what about post-race psychological nutrition? I’d never thought about that before :) (lightbulb!)


Mara @ What's for Dinner? July 27, 2009 at 9:21 pm

I’ve never done a race, but I’ve done my fair share of competing in different arenas (music, theater, etc) and after the “big day”, its hard to get motivated again. Just stick with it, do what you feel you can enjoy doing, and dont FORCE anything!!! HUGS!


Jessica July 27, 2009 at 9:29 pm

i suffer from lack of motivation … but not from races lol.
im sorry youre feeling this way :( im feeling a bit down too, and I’m not sure why.
ah well, hopefully we both cheer up soon eh?


Angela (Oh She Glows) July 27, 2009 at 9:30 pm

Love your comments =)

Post race psychological nutrition….love that concept! So cool.

Yes, I have signed up for a half marathon for Sept 27th. You’d think this would have been lots of motivation, but so far I haven’t gotten back into the game yet. I think it is hard for me because I can’t go to the gym and switch it up often. I refuse to spend the extra money and time on a membership right now (we don’t have a gym in our town so it is a 15 min drive anyways!) so sometimes the treadmill can get very dull. Hopefully this weather picks up soon!


[email protected] July 27, 2009 at 9:39 pm

After all 3 of my marathons, I have suffered from some pretty intense blues. I felt like “what is wrong with me?”. I was really depressed, wanted to sleep all the time, and like I never wanted to do anything.
I needed to EAT and SLEEP! Everything fell back into place after about a week, but the third marathon was definitely easier because I knew what to expect. A lot of self care was what I needed to fully recover mentally and physically. Running the Boston Marathon is worth the months of training in snow all for the 20 seconds when you cross the finish line- so its natural that there is kind of a crash after all of that excitement and adrenaline!


Lizzie July 27, 2009 at 9:50 pm

I have used post-race recovery as an excuse to drop off from my regular mileage and also my strength – which I have found out doesn’t really work and in fact leaves me feeling frustrated as I wonder why I am not feeling strong (ummm – maybe I should put two and two together? :)). Thanks for the article.


Lily July 27, 2009 at 10:01 pm

I could be waaaaaaaaaaaay out of line here, but do you think that because you are on your feet so much with bakery stuff, plus just bakery stress, that maybe you need to eat more? And maybe you’ve already compensated for your activity levels–I really don’t know–just hypothesizing!

It’s a sensible thought for sure. I am actually eating a lot more now than I was before I started training and the bakery. I’m always eating and testing out bakery samples, lol. If I wasn’t exercising consistently I would definitely gain weight (or I’d have to cut back on some sweets!).


Anna July 27, 2009 at 10:02 pm

Yep, the exact same thing happens to me every time I race- it takes me a good 2 weeks to get back in the running groove. It’s pretty damn irritating, but you’re right- this too shall pass.


Rose July 27, 2009 at 10:11 pm

You sound like me after my half-marathon. I wrote a post very much like this and titled it the same thing! IT does take a while to get back into the swing, I think. Having another race or goal in sight definitely helps!


The Running Yogini July 27, 2009 at 10:12 pm

I think its really important to take a big break a few times a year. If I’m really not feeling it I schedule myself a running vacation and do something else when I normally would be running. Read a magazine/book, paint, write in a journal, sit outside and do nothing, etc. Then, I celebrate my back to running day when it arrives :-) Sometimes I need a break after racing or sometimes it just pops up outta nowhere. Good Luck!!


Michelle hisae July 27, 2009 at 10:20 pm

After my half marathon in may, I ran an easy 3 miles then didn’t run for a month! So yes I was burnt out and not too motivated. But it got me back into pilates and cycling!!


Kristine July 27, 2009 at 10:56 pm

I know what you mean about not being motivated. It happens a lot to me too, and then I always wonder how I push myself through and motivate myself to finally get out there to do it. But, like you said “If I wasn’t exercising I would definitely gain weight” does run through my mind quite often, and it scares me enough to get out there and run!


Paige July 27, 2009 at 11:06 pm

What an interesting post! I like the idea about switching it up. Maybe try some new workout DVD’s?


amie July 27, 2009 at 11:52 pm

YES!! i totally had what i called a “major runner’s low” after my first half marathon. i often get a “runners’ low” after a long run (5+ miles), usually because i’m tired and need a lot of food after. so i was expecting to have that after my half, but i thought it would last for a few hours after the race. instead i was on a high for the rest of the day and the next and then BAM! runner’s low. it felt like the day after christmas and i’ve had a hard time motivating myself since then (its been a few months now, ugh). so i’m signing up for a bunch of races in sept and oct (5 and 10kms) and i want to find another half before christmas so i can re-motivate myself. so you’re not alone in your post-race-blues!


Ashley July 27, 2009 at 11:56 pm

Really interesting post! I’m just training for my first race, so I had no idea this could happen.


hstryk July 28, 2009 at 7:02 am

Dealing with it right now actually. Did my first triathlon, and I was so happy. I took a day off and then went right back to working out. Unfortunately most of my workouts haven’t been great, and I’ve been DRAGGING too. It’s awful. I can hardly get out of bed in the morning in time to get a decent workout. I plan on signing up for a race in a couple weeks but now I’m not so sure since I haven’t been working out like I was before. Don’t know what to do.


Kristen July 28, 2009 at 7:10 am

I’ve definitely had the post-race blues before. All that focus, dedication, and energy going toward one event…when it is over, you HAVE to come down, there doesn’t seem like there is any other way. I think this is similar to the post-wedding blues that many people (ok, mostly women) experience.

My strategy has been to set a deadline. I have a training plan ready, have a start date for it, and I don’t allow myself to postpone it. That way, if I get back into a running grove before that date, great. If not, I have a definite start date for my new cycle of running.

Good luck! I hope your funk clears soon!


Laura July 28, 2009 at 7:17 am

I definitely have. Our coach specifically does a talk for us on post race blues as it happens to all level of athletes. Biggest thing for me is if possible, I take at least a full week off of running just to recharge and enjoy some of the free time not training allows for. Next step is to ensure I have my next race planned out AND registered for so that I can look forward to that.
This will pass, don’t worry..


Susan July 28, 2009 at 8:13 am

I was pretty unmotivated after my triathlon a few weeks ago. I think a lot of it came from the stress I was feeling leading up to the race. I was training hard for it, but I think I spent too much time worrying about how I was going to perform. Once the race was over, I was just SO relieved that I didn’t feel like doing anything else. But it’s in my nature to set goals and challenge myself. I started secretly making biking and running goals, and before I knew it, I was back on the road training. My body was only tired for a couple days after, but my mind was exhausted for several days.


Jess July 28, 2009 at 2:02 pm

i totally get what you’re experiencing. and my “cure” would be: plan another race ASAP :-)


Heidi Hayworth August 7, 2014 at 10:24 pm

Wow!! This has happened to me after my last 2 half marathons. I googled it tonight because I was curious. I’m in the middle of the 2nd time its happened and the great news is that I know it will pass just like it did last time.


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