Post-race depression (+5 coping tips)

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This article will discuss what is Post-race depression. For that, it will discuss why this can happen, and what are some signs of it. Along with that, the article will show what are ways you can handle Post-race depression.

What is Post-race depression? 

Post-race depression is that feeling of loss of purpose you may experience after you have run a marathon or some other long race. And although it may seem strange, it is a perfectly understandable feeling. 

When you decide to do one of those races, so much of your life is focused on preparing for it. You need to care for your eating, your rest and sleep hours will be monitored. You consider how you are going to do your training, and so on.

Every aspect of your life changes to prepare for this big event so that after you end it, it can seem like there is no other purpose. This can lead to a form of depression that is called situational depression. 

It is one in which the person experiences the symptoms of depression for a brief period, as a way to adjust to something that has changed in their life. It can go on for a few weeks until you can develop a new outlook on life without that activity or person.

This means that Post-race depression will most likely go away after some time. But if the feeling becomes too intense, or goes on for longer, to a point it seems impossible to reorganize your life, you might want to loom for professional help. 

This may be a sign that you are going through other forms of mental illness that may need treatment.

Along with that, if you already have a mental health condition, such as a depressive disorder, it can make your Post-race depression a lot more intense. 

Since the depressive disorder takes away all the sense of purpose you have, you may have found it in running, and now that you are done with it, the loss of purpose may come overwhelmingly. If that is your case, keeping in touch with the professional that is treating you will allow you to handle this better.

But if you feel that Post-race depression is something that commonly happens to you after you finish each race, you should know there are some ways you can cope with that. Let’s discuss what are some ways to cope with Post-race depression.

How can I cope with Post-race depression? 

Post-race depression can be a common manifestation in people that do those sorts of exercises. Here are some ways you can cope with it.

Share your feelings 

Many racers go through this same feeling. They can feel the same way you do, so share your thoughts and feelings, not only it will help you understand that you are not alone, but it will also give you a chance to vent. 

This may not be the cure in itself, but it will surely make it easier. It can even be a way to laugh it off at what you are feeling.

Give yourself time 

Understand that after a race your mind and your body may need some time to recover. You put your body through a lot when you are training for a race, and when you do the race for a fact. 

Your muscles may get inflamed due to the effort racing takes. This physical healing can take a few weeks, so don’t go back to training quickly. But if you feel like you need to stay active, you can do some walking or light jogging, or even ride a bike.

Look at what you have done

When you are preparing for a race you may have that goal set in your mind. So as you have done it, take some time to look at it. See how well you have done, what you can improve for your next race, but don’t only look at the results. 

If you only focus on that, you can begin to be too hard on yourself. And lose track of the joy of racing. Try to focus on the good moments and memories racing can bring you.

Already set a new goal 

Some people may feel so lost when they finish a race that they can learn that having a new goal for running, or even not related to running can be of great help.

And although this may not be a good idea for everyone, since it can cause some people to feel overwhelmed, having a goal for the day after the race can help.

You may set that on your recovery weeks you will do some home organizing, or care for your plants. Anything that makes it feel like you have a goal. 

And if you realize you need a new running goal, you can find your next race and apply to it even before the other one. This can be soothing, to know that there is one just around the corner.

Know that it will pass

As with any feeling, or situation in your life, know that your Post-race depression will pass. It is usually a time of adjustment that can happen even to the biggest athletes. Care for your emotional and physical sides at this moment, and take it slow.

You will find new goals and joys in life, even if it is a new race or a new hobby. Take your time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): What is Post-race depression? 

What does it mean to take a rest day? 

A rest day means you are taking a day without exercise to help your body and your muscles relax. This is an important part of every exercise routine. Although some people may not believe it, some benefits can come from a rest day.

It can make your body restore its energy, so by the time you go back to exercising, you can feel you will have a lot more energy to do it. Not only that, but it also improves your muscle endurance, making it possible for you to do your activities for longer the next day.

What is the difference between running and jogging?

There are some differences between jogging and running. The first one is the pace. When you are jogging you are going less than 6mph, as for running, you usually go faster than that. 

But aside from that, there are also some differences when it comes to the work it puts your muscles in, calorie spending, and the after work.

When you run faster, your feet have less time touching the ground. It causes your muscles to be activated differently from when you jog. Both of them affect your glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, shins, and calves. But the effect they have on it is different. 

When you run long distance, like many marathon runners, you can have that body shape that is not muscular, sometimes it even looks underdeveloped. As for people that jog, they tend to have a more muscular body. 

When you run or when you jog your calorie burn can change. Running at a 6mph pace, for 10 minutes, will burn 113 calories. At a 7mph pace, the person will burn 130 calories. But when jogging, at a 5mph pace, the person will only burn 91 calories.

Another thing that changes is that when you do a more intense workout, you don’t burn the calories only when you do it. There is also an after-burn. This means your body will continue to burn the calories even after you are done exercising. This can go on for 48 hours.

What are the mental benefits of running? 

Running doesn’t only benefit your body. But it also has a great impact on your mental health. It can reduce your stress level. That is because running a substance called endocannabinoids is released into your body. This causes you to feel calm.

Along with that, once running impacts your stress level, it also improves your mood, even when you are going through depression or anxiety. This can mean that running is a powerful weapon when treating mental health conditions. 

That is why many mental health professionals, be it therapists or psychiatrists, recommend their patients start running.

Along with that, running can also improve your sleep. When you are done running many chemicals in your body will help you relax, and will encourage deep sleep. With that, it is easier to have a good night with deep sleep.

How does my life expectancy change if I am a walker or a jogger? 

Jogging, even if only for 10 minutes, can reduce your chances of dying from heart conditions, and most of all conditions. People that jog tend to live longer than people that don’t jog. For men, it seems they can live 3,8 years more. And as for women, 4,7 years.

Walking can also impact your life expectancy, although in not such an intense manner as jogging. And even though there is no straightforward comparison, it seems that having some exercise, be it running or walking, can be beneficial, what you should be aware of is to not overdo it.

People that exercise more than they can or need to can come to develop heart problems. So the keyword in this is moderation. Have a healthy exercise schedule, but not one that asks too much of yourself and your body.

Can running be bad for my knees?

Running isn’t necessarily bad for your knees. What makes your knees hurt, is running in poor quality. It can happen because people can overuse their bodies and muscles if they overrun. This increases your chance of getting an injury.

To avoid putting too much stress on your body, which can lead to injury, you can progress slowly in your training, and get some rest before your runs. And it is not only the intensity of your running that can impact your knees, and the rest of your body, in a way that can lead to injuries. 

Running more miles than you should also make you so fatigued that you can lose your posture or focus, which can also increase the chances of you developing a knee injury. With all that, it is clear to say that the best way to prevent problems with your knee is by having a good and steady running schedule.

Conclusion 

This article discussed what Post-race depression is, and what are signs you might be going through it. Along with that, it showed what ways you can handle it.

If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to write them in the section below.

References

https://www.fleetfeet.com/blog/how-to-handle-the-post-race-blues
https://www.active.com/triathlon/articles/6-ways-to-beat-post-race-depression

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