You’ve been working your tail off the past few months preparing for your upcoming race.

Each training session has had a purpose in pushing you closer to your goal of crossing that finish line with a big smile across your face. The foods you’ve chosen to eat have played an important part in your performance and recovery, and your social schedule has been based around when and where you need to fit your training in.

So race day comes –ย your hard work pays off and you CRUSH you goal. You go out for a celebratory breakfast with your running buddies….and now what?ย That’s the question a lot of runners ask, regardless of their experience level or reason for running.

I’ve spoken to a number of runners who spent months training for various half and full marathons, each with their own desired outcome. And I’ve spoken to runners who have used a half marathon as a way to stay motivated and on track with their healthy habits.

But when that external motivator is gone – whether it’s a PR, some shiny new bling, or the desire to not pass out on the race course – what do we do to keep ourselves motivated?

I’ve been fortunate enough to have never experienced the post-race slump. There’s just so many things I love doing, so I’ve always found it easy to transition from race season to off season. So today I’m sharing my top three tips for staying motivated after a race! My hope is that you’ll continue to crush goals alllll year long after putting these into action!

staying motivated after a race

Tip #1: Find something you enjoy beyond running.ย 

We all know how important it is for runners to cross-train, right? So we’ve all gone out and experimented with different forms of cross-training, riiiight??

If you haven’t done much experimentation, now is your time! Try out a spin class or a new group fitness class (I’ve got my eye on you, Orange Theory). For many of us, running is a very individual sport and it can be nice to get out and try something fun in a group.

More on the introverted side? Me too! While being in a room full of strangers isn’t my favourite thing, it’s far less intimidating when you and those strangers share a similar interest – fitness! Chat someone up about what brought them to the class. Ask them if there’s any tips they think you need to know. Find out what other activities they do. Who knows – you might just find a new buddy that will keep you accountable until it’s time for the next race!

And if you’re not into chatting with other people? Most spin classes are a good option, since dark rooms and loud music don’t really lend themselves to chitchat ๐Ÿ˜‰

If the whole group fitness experience really doesn’t appeal to you, set some new goals in the gym! Try to do a handstand, or squat your bodyweight, or deadlift DOUBLE your bodyweight. All these things will give you something to work on and will give your body a bit of a break from running.

Tip #2:ย Work on your weak areas.

After your race is over and your body has recovered, take some time to reflect on where you kicked ass and where you need a little work. Did you feel fast on flat ground but struggled on hills? Did you feel sore in weird places like your shoulders or biceps? Did you experience a lot of nagging aches and pains during training?

Take a look at those areas you struggled with and come up with a plan of attack to improve them. You can work at strengthening your lower body to help with hills, you can work on your core to improve your form, and you can take a trip to a local fitness professional for an assessment to find out where muscular imbalances are hiding.

By working on these things while you’re clocking less mileage, you’ll have the opportunity to come back the following season an even stronger and more fierce runner. However, a word of advice: be sure to throw some fun things into your training! It’s incredibly important that we work on our weak points, but we also don’t want to be miserable all the time ๐Ÿ˜‰

Tip #3: Remember your “WHY”.

It can be easy to get caught up in PRs, medals, finish times, fastest miles, etc. But at the end of the day, there’s a deeper reason we’re doing all these fun and crazy things. We all have our own reasons for striving for health and consistent progress – mine is to continually remind myself of what I’m capable of.

Every now and then we need to stop and take a moment to reconnect with our “why”s. In doing that, it makes the process of determining what our next steps should be just a little bit easier ๐Ÿ™‚ So grab a cup of coffee, get cozy, and take some time to reconnect with you “why”.

Beat the post-race slump and stay motivated with these 3 tips! via @arianafotinakis #runchat #fitnessmotivation Click To Tweet

Have you ever felt the post-race slump? What do you do to stay motivated after a race? Care to share your “why”?

Showing 28 comments
  • Becky @ Disney in your Day
    Reply

    I think my best motivation is just to sign up for another race! Haha I feel like there’s never a time when I’m not really training or at least have a race/goal in mind.

    • Ariana
      Reply

      Haha, having an impending race is a great way to stay motivated!

  • Cassi
    Reply

    The 5Ks I walked were just for fun for me and to see that I could do it. Then I go and walk a few 5Ks during my lunch hour so it’s no biggie.

    • Ariana
      Reply

      I think walking 5k, whether it’s during a race or during your lunch break, is awesome!

  • Nicole @ Fitful Focus
    Reply

    Great tips! I was devastated when I got injured last year, but then I found a passion in strength training. I loved having something to do besides running, and now I have a new cross training plan for when I am in race training mode :).

    • Ariana
      Reply

      That’s great! Injuries are no fun and while it’s really hard to see it at the time, there is definitely good that can come from them. Glad you found your love for strength training!

  • Debbie @ Coach Debbie Runs
    Reply

    I think these are great tips. When I was younger and racing a lot, there was always another race on the horizon. Now that I rarely race, it is harder to stay motivated.

    • Ariana
      Reply

      While it might be a little more difficult to stay motivated, your body probably thanks you for the break from racing ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Reply

    I had a lot of these feelings after my tri race this summer. I missed the regimented training with my friends. Good tips!

    • Ariana
      Reply

      Yes, it can be so hard after triathlons because SO much work goes into them!

  • Marcia
    Reply

    I’m usually so relieved a goal race is over, there’s no slump for me. I think the habit of running is so ingrained in me by now, I’ll hopefully never stop. That said, my focus has changed to strength and flexibility now that I’ve crossed the “key” finish line for the year.

    • Ariana
      Reply

      That’s great you never get that slump! It’s great to have different focuses throughout the year.

  • Reply

    I think it’s always great to try a new cross training activity, just to mix it up.

    • Ariana
      Reply

      I agree!

  • Reply

    Great post. I have been planning my strength training program for after my marathon to give me something to look forward to. I haven’t had an off season in almost 2 years, so I’m looking forward to it and working on something that will in the long run make me a stronger runner!

    • Ariana
      Reply

      Wow 2 years! I hope you enjoy your offseason and come back next year even stronger than you already are!

  • Carmy
    Reply

    Remember my “why” definitely is helping keeping me going now that my race season is done

    • Ariana
      Reply

      Yes! It’s all about the “why”.

  • Farrah
    Reply

    Love this! I think it’s great after any sort of competition/ginormous exam! I usually give myself a day or two to recuperate and recharge, and then I kick myself back into gear again! :]

    • Ariana
      Reply

      I’m happy to hear you give yourself a couple days’ rest! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Sandra Laflamme
    Reply

    The post race slump can be the worst. I definitely get that feeling and then I get “tricked” into racing again before my body is ready which is never a good idea. I love your tips and mixing it up with some new classes and things can always help!

    • Ariana
      Reply

      Hopefully you find a class or some sort of cross-training activity to keep you out of that slump this year!

  • jill conyers
    Reply

    Post race blues are a thing! And I get them after every big race. I”m learning to embrace the down time and recover. Great tips Ariana!

    • Ariana
      Reply

      When you’re so busy, the down time is definitely something to enjoy ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Lisa @ Lisa the Vegetarian
    Reply

    Love the tip about working on your weak areas. It’s definitely important to make your body strong during times like these.

    • Ariana
      Reply

      Glad you agree!

  • Kathryn @ Dancing to Running
    Reply

    I usually find that my best motivation is signing up for another race. I plan to sign up for a race as a way to help motivate me to get back into shape after I deliver my son. Now to decide what race that will be…

    • Ariana
      Reply

      Decisions, decisions ๐Ÿ˜‰

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