I’m back from my escapades on the Sunshine Coast. I have recovered and started training again for my next big race. My focus is on Phuket 70.3. This was Challenge Phuket last year and the first 70.3 race where I won my age group. I am excited to go back this year with a bit of a goal. I want to pick up a slot to the 2017 World Championships. I had such an amazing experience on the Sunshine Coast that I want to do it again. I am feeling completely different this year compared to how I was feeling the same time last year. Last year’s Sunshine Coast race I was expecting to absolutely smash the race. I had come back from Bintan where I qualified for Worlds and had suffered a bike crash. I was in red-hot form before the crash and was convinced that if I had stayed upright on the bike I would have delivered my best ever performance. So I therefore assumed that as long as I stayed upright on the Sunshine Coast I would have an amazing race. Ultimately I didn’t race well and was probably more injured than I realised. But I remember that I was basically done with triathlon. I wrote about how frustrated I was that I wasn’t making any progress.
This time last year I had basically stopped training. In fact the only reason I did start up again was because I had committed to racing the Nepean Triathlon with a friend of mine. It was a blessing in disguise because I had such a good time at that race I got my motivation back. Compare that to this year and I am so motivated. I can’t stress how much I enjoyed myself at the World Championships. The fact I didn’t have the perfect race coupled with the fact that I am seeing some serious improvements again has meant that I am mentally and physically in a much better place to get started for the end of the year. I had originally planned on taking 2 weeks off after the race but decided to cut it back to one because I was going stir crazy. I was also becoming a bit too lazy and I wanted to put a stop to that quick smart. So while it is great that I am back in training, I am actually very relieved. Relieved that I am not struggling for motivation following me A race for 2016.
For those of you who have never experienced it, many athletes find that after their big race they can lose motivation and almost feel depressed. It is often referred to as the “Iron Man Blues.” But don’t let the name fool you; it isn’t only applicable to IM races or even triathlon. I know many people who have suffered it after races of all distances and disciplines. While there are probably a number of psychological and physiological reasons as to why this happens I assume that a big part of it is that we build an event up in our mind so much that we kind of shut down a bit after. I see it all the time with dieting. People set themselves a weight goal and as soon as they finally get there they relax and surprise surprise they slip back into bad habits and put the weight back on. The worst part about it is that often you are helpless to stop it from happening in people. I have had many weight loss clients hit targets only to put it all back on. I have seen athletes hit their A-race and then struggle to get back into training. You know it is happening they know it is happening but are powerless to stop it.
I really felt like this was happening to me last year. Unlike other years where I had a poor performance and was determined (motivated isn’t the right word here) to improve last year I was ready to give up. It wasn’t until I had some fun that I started to get my mojo back. I found new friends who I started to train with and was around a number of athletes who were all training for their very first triathlon. Training with them probably had little to no physical impact on my performance but man it had a psychological one. That excitement was what I needed to get back into it. This year I think that a big reason why I have not been suffering from post race depression (if I give it a fancy name it sounds more legitimate) is because I still have more goals to achieve this year. This is why I think there are two key things people can do to avoid falling into a PRD (see what I did there.) If you have something else to work towards you will have another event to focus on and be less likely to let your post race feelings get to you. The other obvious hint is to make your training fun again. You don’t always need to be training like a mad dog. Even for me the last few weeks I have had the pleasure of just going on some social rides and it has been fun.
It is absolutely important to take a break after a big event or goal. Use that time to give back to those who have made sacrifices for you. If you are in a relationship, give your partner some TLC. If you have kids, make sure they get to spend some quality time with you. You need this for your sanity. But by preparing in advance for what you know is very likely to occur you may be able to avoid it from happening. Focus on the positives after a race and you are likely to remain positive. I feel like the universe is forcing this on me a little bit at the moment. Even this week I had a Facebook memory come up showing that old photo of me from my first triathlon. If I ever need a boost of motivation all I need to do is look back to where I came from and visualise where I am going.
So keep moving forward when it gets hard. Remember to make time for those who are important to you but also remember why you do this for yourself. Keep this in mind and as always remember to TRI!
***I am just over $300 short of my fundraising total for the RSPCA. If you are able to throw even just a few dollars towards getting me to the Noosa Tri start line and supporting the RSPCA it is greatly appreciated.
I lost 50kgs though triathlon and completed the 2016 70.3 World Championships. Aiming to hit 4:05 for a 70.3, the same time it took me to complete my first Olympic Distance Triathlon. I want to bring as many new people to the sport as possible. Whether you are fit and active or want to make positive changes to your life.