My friend, Jodan was surprised that we have a term called ‘post-Ironman blues’ when he expressed his sense of ‘emptiness’ after his inaugural completion of the 226K triathlon. It is natural to feel a sense of being ‘in vacuo’ after the racing season is over. Here is a list of 10 things you could do, when you experience the struggle of having too much free time on your hands, or want to resist the urge to go for a long run or ride.
1) Enjoy the break from physical activity. Let your body heal, recover and get stronger.
2) Get your body re-adjusted (chiropractor), re-aligned (physiotherapist), and relaxed (deep tissue masseur). Your body is still in a state of extreme shock, and can be unbearably tight (ITB, calves, upper back) posing future risks for injury. Most chronic injuries occur weeks after the actual event.
3) Take advantage of your post-race peak, and race in short races (5K or 10K runs). You might even improve on your 5K trail-run ranking, hold your fastest riding speed for 3 minutes, or achieve your best 100m swimming speed in the pool.
4) Participate in Master’s swim classes. Work on swim techniques, stroke rate, and racing drills. This tends to be one of the most overlooked areas of development. You may not win with the race with the swim, but you may certainly lose it.
5) Go on a vacation and take stock of your priorities, including endurance race plans. How many races can you afford to do in a year? What will be the financial impact for overseas races?
6) Join classes that focus on different aspects of your fitness, like flexibility, core strength and power (Pilates, yoga, spinning, CrossFit, or kettle-bell workouts). Run hills, and do intervals.
7) Get back into your fitness lifestyle with bite-sized workouts. Down-scale and down-size all your efforts as you are still recovering from the physical assault on your beat-up body.
8) Organise a gathering of finishers of a marathon or Ironman, and shoot the breeze. Swap stories and experiences, and bask in the myriad moments of mutual suffering and celebration.
9) Join swim, ride and run groups and appreciate their energy and enthusiasm for each discipline. Time to move from training solo to being a groupie.
10) Do a post-race review of what went well, and what could be improved. Do you need to have your bike refitted? Could you tweak your nutritional plan? How did you legs feel after you got off your bike? Which parts of you body were the most sore after the race? How long was your recovery?
Stop being in denial. Accept the fact that with the end of each racing season comes a new one. Give your body and mind a rest. Racing is akin to doing exams, so time to celebrate the end of a successful season of competition. Enjoy your fitness and friends! Time to party!