Well, I finished my big race…now what?
What should you do after your main race and when should you decide on what to do are some of the most common questions people have around racing and the aftermath. Here Coach Diogo discusses how to work through the impulsive purchase of a race entry when standing on the finish line of your most recent event and how to learn from a mistake he made early in his racing career.
This is one of the most asked questions we get asked as a coach. The number of athletes who ask us what should they do once they have finish the main race of the year is significant and our answer is usually the same: get some rest, clear your mind and spend some time with your family and friends – they deserve it. Only once you have done that and restored some balance, then we can discuss on what to do next.
Signing up for another big race immediately after your A race may sound like a good idea in order to keep you motivated however we prefer to give the athletes some time to think about what they actually want to do next.
As an athlete I remember making a huge mistake: I registered for Ironman Austria 2016 before doing my first full distance race in Roth 2015. At first sight this seems to be a legitimate idea. However, once I did my first full distance I found my self depressed…why? Because I attained my main goal: finishing a full distance triathlon. Maybe I could motivate myself to achieve a better time in Austria but what happened to me was completely the opposite: I didn’t want to go out to train and my mind and body were not ready to suffer again for an entire year. The joy of completing a goal was ruined by moving straight on to the next “target”.
Don’t think this happens to everyone because it doesn’t, we know and we coach a lot of athletes who sign up for another big event as soon as they finish their main one and they are completely fine with it. However, we would always advise to take some time before they do it to know if they really want to race that event or if perhaps their emotions got the better of them and the impulsively ended up with a race entry!
If you find yourself demotivated, recognise that you are not the only one. It is more common than you may believe. There are some strategies you can use to keep your motivation levels high after reaching your goal:
Racing short events can be an excellent one,:they are fun and fast and honestly, they don’t need as much time as a full distance race to prepare and because all the base training was done you just need to enjoy the fast races.
Focus on your one discipline. For example work on swimming or running technique.
Now that you have more free time, why not to take that time to work on something that can bring a huge benefit to your performance on the following season? Perhaps you can use the time to sort out that niggle that you have been training with for the past few months. If it’s the case, this can also be a great time for you to recover from an old injury, working with a physio to become fully recovered.
…Review your nutrition? The list is endless!
In conclusion, if you have just finished your big race, don’t do something crazy and sign up immediately for another one: give yourself some time and space to think about what you really want to do, discuss it with your coach and only when you think you’re ready, make a decision. Don’t get caught in the moment and do one more race because “everyone else is”: after all, only dead fish go with the flow!