Trailer Trash

12

Post Race Funk? (Read 64 times)


Occasional Runner

    This question is for the guys and gals that race. I'm not sure if distance plays into it or not...but please feel free to chime in.

     

    Do you ever get into a funk after a race? Not full on depression, but just a little "over it"?

     

    I find this happening to me a lot. I finish a big race and the thought of running no longer appeals to me at all. When I look at my race schedule, I get annoyed at the thought of fulfilling it. It only lasts for a very short time, but it's noticeable.

     

    I'm not sure if this a purely mental issue or a chemical reaction associated with a high level of exertion??? I really don't know.

     

    I used to attribute to signs of "burnout" but I always bounce back and have a renewed sense of enthusiasm for the sport after a day or two.

     

    Maybe its just my body saying "ENOUGH"! Kind of like eating too much? When you eat too much, nothing sounds appealing, yet you're eventually hungry again.

     

    At any rate, I was wondering if this is unique.

    9/13- Mid Mountain Marathon

    9/26- Bear 100

    10/18- White Rim Trail FKT

    11/1- Javelina Jundred

    12/6- Cajun Coyote 100

      You are definitely unique, but not alone.

       

      I've felt like that after my last few races, and mine haven't been nearly as taxing as yours.

       

      I say treat yourself to a couple of days off, if you feel the need.

       

      I find that sitting on the couch and not moving a muscle, other than the remote hand, for a day or so helps get me out of the funk (or at least drives me nuts and out of the house).

        This is how I usually feel after any race that I've been really looking forward to/training intensely for.  My motivation to tackle the next phase of training wanes for a week or so, usually until I have a good run-meaning one that I feel strong.  When I'm in the week or two right after a big race, I get very disillusioned with running, just because I can't make my body do what I think it should do.  Oh, and distance does have some bearing- I never feel this way after shorter races (hm or less, I'd say).


        Uh oh... now what?

          Never looks good in the morning's light.


          Le professeur de trail

            John - you took back your reply? I liked it.  I think it answered the Q from a similar perspective as Kelly's.

             

            I will add a somewhat different perspective: I think running is mind and body altering.  Ok I know I just stated the obvious but stay with me.  There is something about running that alters the chemical makeup of the brain and CNS.  Races (especially the competitive aspect), add something to this relationship.  I think that a let down (depression, confusion, apathy, whatever) is normal after the build up.  Nothing si wrong with it.  As distance runners, we should know how to deal with the ups and downs.  This is not different.  I personally think that blogging, race reports, etc. help to work through all the different emotions that occur before, during and after races.

             

            Bottom line, run enough miles and/or races and you are changing your chemical make-up.  Not saying that is a bad thing but just have to adjust to it.  There is an addictive nature to running similar to substances.  I wonder what "adrenaline junkies" feel after their activities of adrenaline? Must be some sort of a "let down".  Until the next adventure though...


            Irish Luck

              John - you took back your reply? I liked it.  I think it answered the Q from a similar perspective as Kelly's.

               

              I will add a somewhat different perspective: I think running is mind and body altering.  Ok I know I just stated the obvious but stay with me.  There is something about running that alters the chemical makeup of the brain and CNS.  Races (especially the competitive aspect), add something to this relationship.  I think that a let down (depression, confusion, apathy, whatever) is normal after the build up.  Nothing si wrong with it.  As distance runners, we should know how to deal with the ups and downs.  This is not different.  I personally think that blogging, race reports, etc. help to work through all the different emotions that occur before, during and after races.

               

              Bottom line, run enough miles and/or races and you are changing your chemical make-up.  Not saying that is a bad thing but just have to adjust to it.  There is an addictive nature to running similar to substances.  I wonder what "adrenaline junkies" feel after their activities of adrenaline? Must be some sort of a "let down".  Until the next adventure though...

               

              There was an article that was shared by TrailRunner Magazine a few months back:

              http://www.trailrunnermag.com/people/culture/article/597-trail-running-and-addictionstaying-mindful

               

              I found the piece to be intriguing (even if I doubted some of it), as the writer is both a psychotherapist and a long distance trail runner. He is honest and respectful in his writing.  I found the comments below the article provided a great insight into the mindset of other trail runners and how they perceive the connection between trail running and addiction.  At the very least, it's worth reading some of the comments below the article.

              BT survivor since 2003. Trail runner since 2009.

              I think brain surgery stimulated my running nerve and made me into a trail runner. I'm grateful for both.

              XtremeTaper


                Your race schedule is busier than most anyone I know so I can understand the funk/burnout. Week after week would be hard to deal with. Even in my busier periods a few years back racing was usually just once a month. The rest of the weekends were training or rest weeks. The key thing to ask yourself is if you are enjoying it. If so, no worries, the feeling will pass. If not, or the feeling persists it could be a signal for some downtime.

                Life is uncertain. Don't sip.

                Watoni


                  This question is for the guys and gals that race. I'm not sure if distance plays into it or not...but please feel free to chime in.

                   

                  Do you ever get into a funk after a race? Not full on depression, but just a little "over it"?

                   

                  I find this happening to me a lot. I finish a big race and the thought of running no longer appeals to me at all. When I look at my race schedule, I get annoyed at the thought of fulfilling it. It only lasts for a very short time, but it's noticeable.

                   

                  I'm not sure if this a purely mental issue or a chemical reaction associated with a high level of exertion??? I really don't know.

                   

                  I used to attribute to signs of "burnout" but I always bounce back and have a renewed sense of enthusiasm for the sport after a day or two.

                   

                  Maybe its just my body saying "ENOUGH"! Kind of like eating too much? When you eat too much, nothing sounds appealing, yet you're eventually hungry again.

                   

                  At any rate, I was wondering if this is unique.

                  I do not really get in a funk ever, but I do not race often.

                   

                  If a race goes well I am more motivated to do something else, if not, I generally wonder about that race/distance, but still want to run and bike.


                  Occasional Runner

                    Your race schedule is busier than most anyone I know so I can understand the funk/burnout. Week after week would be hard to deal with. Even in my busier periods a few years back racing was usually just once a month. The rest of the weekends were training or rest weeks. The key thing to ask yourself is if you are enjoying it. If so, no worries, the feeling will pass. If not, or the feeling persists it could be a signal for some downtime.

                     

                    I'm glad you posted because I know you have a long history of running these distances and you ran at a pretty high level.

                     

                    I'm always having fun. I enjoy the time before the race and I almost always enjoy the race itself. It's really just that day or two immediately following the race that get foggy. It may just be a temporary bout of exhaustion.

                     

                    I ran this morning and enjoyed it and I'm looking forward to running tomorrow morning. By Wednesday, I'll be looking forward to something really long. It's the same cycle I've been going through for about a year.

                    9/13- Mid Mountain Marathon

                    9/26- Bear 100

                    10/18- White Rim Trail FKT

                    11/1- Javelina Jundred

                    12/6- Cajun Coyote 100

                    FTYC


                    Faster Than Your Couch!

                      I think it is similar in other areas of life, too. If you work up to a big goal and achieve it, you feel some let-down afterwards. It is a phase of orientation, setting new goals, digesting the success (or failure, if so), learning from it. And some "now what?" time.

                       

                      Now, if you do this very often - and to me, it seems, you are competitive and like making almost every race a competition, sizing yourself up against others, or just against yourself - it may become a rollercoaster of emotions. And if you have the future goals already set (like a busy race calendar), with high expectations, not only from yourself, but also from your sponsor, there is very little time to digest, go through the exhaustion phase, recover, find new goals, and enjoy the success. It almost becomes a long list of expectations which you'll have (or want) to fulfill.

                       

                      Perhaps putting less pressure on yourself for a few races might help. I know you see some races more like supported long runs, but you seem to use them also as status reports on yourself and your progress, and you are pretty merciless with yourself. It may be hard for your competitive and ambitious nature, but backing off a bit (in your mind, not secretly competing), before you experience serious burnout, might help.

                      Run for fun.


                      Occasional Runner

                        I think it is similar in other areas of life, too. If you work up to a big goal and achieve it, you feel some let-down afterwards. It is a phase of orientation, setting new goals, digesting the success (or failure, if so), learning from it. And some "now what?" time.

                         

                        Now, if you do this very often - and to me, it seems, you are competitive and like making almost every race a competition, sizing yourself up against others, or just against yourself - it may become a rollercoaster of emotions. And if you have the future goals already set (like a busy race calendar), with high expectations, not only from yourself, but also from your sponsor, there is very little time to digest, go through the exhaustion phase, recover, find new goals, and enjoy the success. It almost becomes a long list of expectations which you'll have (or want) to fulfill.

                         

                        Perhaps putting less pressure on yourself for a few races might help. I know you see some races more like supported long runs, but you seem to use them also as status reports on yourself and your progress, and you are pretty merciless with yourself. It may be hard for your competitive and ambitious nature, but backing off a bit (in your mind, not secretly competing), before you experience serious burnout, might help.

                        The timing and intuition of this comment are amazing.

                         

                        I was just sitting here in my hotel room thinking a lot of the same things. Taking the AZ  race as an example...I knew my fitness was good and I would do well if I could handle the heat. I lined up for the race and was pretty convinced I would get a top 3 finish. I went out and ran my guts out. I met my goal, had a good race, got on a plane and went home. That's it. Its over.

                         

                        That's it.

                         

                        It's over.

                         

                        Now what?

                         

                        My sponsor is happy. I have more shit to throw on a pile of shit I get at races. Now what?

                         

                        Maybe the outcome of the race isn't as exciting as the race itself. Or the buildup of the race. Or even the training for the race. Maybe I expect too much in the culmination of the race and am always left standing there wondering....now what?

                         

                        There's always a day or two of people patting me on the back while I'm already focused on the next race. Almost dreading the next race. And after a while, it all comes back to center and I'm feeling focused, excited and ready to get on the trail and do it all over again.

                         

                        I really think a lot of people have similar emotions or afflictions after they've raced for a while. When you finish your first marathon or ultra, the accomplishment carries you on a high for a while. Then over time, it's not so special anymore. Maybe it's a constant hunt for that initial high?

                         

                        I sincerely have no idea. It's just annoying.

                        9/13- Mid Mountain Marathon

                        9/26- Bear 100

                        10/18- White Rim Trail FKT

                        11/1- Javelina Jundred

                        12/6- Cajun Coyote 100

                        Chnaiur


                          This thread made me think of Schopenhauer's philosophy: life is just an endless struggle toward a series of made up goals. Achieving one goal leaves you empty until you start working on the next equally meaningless goal.

                           

                          That's pretty pessimistic, but there is actually a lot of research on the futility of using achievement to gain happiness. I'm an high achiever myself, and I'm far from complete in my journey, but I really try to focus on the process as self-expression rather than the result as achievement. I.e. I do good work because that expresses who I am, which is a person who likes to do things well, rather than I do good work to get the next promotion or win the next award.

                           

                          In addition, I really like the ideas put forth in this HBR articlel:

                           

                          http://www.internationalforum.com/Articles/Success%20that%20Lasts%20-%20HBR%20February%202004.pdf

                           

                          They split what they call success, which really is more like life contentment than outward success, up into four components:

                           

                          • Achievement
                          • Happiness -- really more like "fun"
                          • Significance
                          • Legacy

                          The weighing of these change throughout our lives, but it always important to keep them balanced. Right now, I'm in a phase where I feel significance is more important than happiness. There are many things I used to enjoy that just feel like empty debauchery right now: things from computer games to great wines don't do much for me any more. They are just distractions from deeper, more meaningful things.

                          3/8 Way Too Cool 50k WNS

                          4/19 Tehama Wildflowers 50k

                           


                          Occasional Runner

                            This thread made me think of Schopenhauer's philosophy: life is just an endless struggle toward a series of made up goals. Achieving one goal leaves you empty until you start working on the next equally meaningless goal.

                             

                            That's pretty pessimistic, but there is actually a lot of research on the futility of using achievement to gain happiness. I'm an high achiever myself, and I'm far from complete in my journey, but I really try to focus on the process as self-expression rather than the result as achievement. I.e. I do good work because that expresses who I am, which is a person who likes to do things well, rather than I do good work to get the next promotion or win the next award.

                             

                            In addition, I really like the ideas put forth in this HBR articlel:

                             

                            http://www.internationalforum.com/Articles/Success%20that%20Lasts%20-%20HBR%20February%202004.pdf

                             

                            They split what they call success, which really is more like life contentment than outward success, up into four components:

                             

                            • Achievement
                            • Happiness -- really more like "fun"
                            • Significance
                            • Legacy

                            The weighing of these change throughout our lives, but it always important to keep them balanced. Right now, I'm in a phase where I feel significance is more important than happiness. There are many things I used to enjoy that just feel like empty debauchery right now: things from computer games to great wines don't do much for me any more. They are just distractions from deeper, more meaningful things.

                            That's some pretty deep shit.

                             

                            I had to kind of toss it aside based on this comment alone..."life is just an endless struggle toward a series of made up goals."

                             

                            Life is significantly more than that. I understand the value of philosophy, but that statement really minimizes the human spirit and the reason we set goals and seek fulfillment. It's not simply "made up" if it satisfies an objective. Goals keep us motivated and focused. Why is it worth getting out of bed every day without a goal or objective?  Certainly, if my goal is to make enough money to pay my bills and put my kids through college, that can't be a "made up" goal. That's reality. That's tangible. If my goal is to get to the next level of a video game...well that might be a different story.

                            9/13- Mid Mountain Marathon

                            9/26- Bear 100

                            10/18- White Rim Trail FKT

                            11/1- Javelina Jundred

                            12/6- Cajun Coyote 100

                            Chnaiur


                              That's some pretty deep shit.

                               

                              I had to kind of toss it aside based on this comment alone..."life is just an endless struggle toward a series of made up goals."

                               

                              Life is significantly more than that. I understand the value of philosophy, but that statement really minimizes the human spirit and the reason we set goals and seek fulfillment. It's not simply "made up" if it satisfies an objective. Goals keep us motivated and focused. Why is it worth getting out of bed every day without a goal or objective?  Certainly, if my goal is to make enough money to pay my bills and put my kids through college, that can't be a "made up" goal. That's reality. That's tangible. If my goal is to get to the next level of a video game...well that might be a different story.

                               

                              I didn't say I agree with Schopenhauer, and the rest of my post is actually on how to break out of that series of goals.

                               

                              I'm also not saying any of what I wrote applies to you, just that what you are relating fits into my current development stage: balancing achievement and fun with meaning. All goals are not equal. 

                              3/8 Way Too Cool 50k WNS

                              4/19 Tehama Wildflowers 50k

                               

                              FTYC


                              Faster Than Your Couch!

                                It's Schopenhauer, the guy was just pretty pessimistic, maybe fatalistic.

                                I have thought about that, too, and in one way, this way of looking at things has something soothing to it. Whatever you do is insignificant. Life goes on, whatever you may or may not do. So there is no "wrong" decision (as long as they are ethical and morally ok, otherwise you hurt other people, but let's just assume that). This can make it easier to decide. You decide and deal with the consequences when they come along, and don't make yourself go crazy about all the possibilities. In some situations, this point of view can help.

                                 

                                Of course it is more rewarding and satisfying to be of significance to at least someone or something, or to do something significant. That's usually just in your microcosmos. You touch the people around you, and maybe a few more. It's up to you to feel significant, and up to the people around you to make you feel important.

                                 

                                So at the same time, we are significant, but insignificant as well.

                                I take whatever seems more helpful at the moment, and I am very aware of both ways of looking at things.

                                 

                                On the other side:

                                It is difficult for high achievers to feel significant, especially when we strive to do a good job AND get the next promotion (not TO get the next promotion). That might be part of the cornundrum?

                                Run for fun.

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