You wake up and you realize that the high you've been riding on since your A Race is fading. That eagerness that you greeted each day with isn't quite as bright and when the alarm goes off, rolling over and sleeping in seems like a great idea. I mean, why not? Your race calendar is clear for awhile. Why not? You trained hard for months. Why not roll over and relax your body deserves the break, right? But now it's two weeks later and you wonder why you ever thought all that hard work was so appealing.
Can you identify with that little "after race" scenario? Most of us can. It's completely normal to take that break, to let up on the self-inflicted pressure to always push. But it is a slippery slope into an all day popcorn eating, snuggie wearing all day movie-fest as your ass grows attached to the couch. So how do you give your body, brain and spirit that much deserved and needed rest while maintaining your momentum towards dreams to come?
Here are a few ways I avoided or at least lessened that slide into couch potato-ism.
Reconnect with family.
During all that training I often had to tip the scales to time budgeting towards my training and sacrificed time with family to get those needed hours on the trails. Post race make it a priority to spend time with your loved ones, sharing your race tales but also letting your family know just how much their support meant to you.
Play with your kids.
Okay you probably had to squeeze this in during your training too but after your race move that fun kid time up on the priority scale. Color, blow bubbles, play Barbies, ride bikes, paint or jump on the trampoline because you asked them to do it with you instead of waiting for them to ask you to join them. It's amazing how great you will feel simply playing.
Visit places you love.
Everything takes time. We each only have a limited number of hours each day and when we are training that time is limited even further. Once your race day is over use some of that extra time to see those places that you hurried through before and enjoy looking around. Take a walk through your neighborhood or hike those trails you were running on. Breath in all those little things you might have missed on your way to that race day goal. Make time to go to that restaurant you avoided while training and enjoy a great meal or visit your mom who still lives in your hometown. Where ever or whatever those places you love are take the time now to enjoy them.
Simple enough. Mow the grass, plant a garden, hand wash the car, pull weeds, fly a kite, use your kid's swing set when they are not looking. Just get outside.
Go for a Run.
Of course in the days and weeks following you big race you are going to go for a run. Duh! But as you work towards moving past your latest challenge give yourself time to remember that there were other reasons why you run, aside from that race that seemed to consume your life. Remember that you love to run. Maybe you love being outside. Maybe you love feeling closer to nature, or God or yourself. Maybe you love pushing your body and feeling it respond. Or maybe you just love being able to eat an extra cupcake and not have it show on your waistline. Whatever that reason get out there and remember it. Run with no plan other than to enjoy doing it.
Make a New Plan
Whether your new plan includes more racing, a year full of the joy of running, focusing on your family or furthering your education; moving forward should include a deliberate plan to help keep you working and avoid that tempting snuggie.
For me, I've packed that snuggie away in exchange for a bathsuit since the littles and I will be spending a lot of our time in the pool and I've penciled a new plan to carry me through May 2014. But for now I'll just stick to running because I love it, eating healthier and keeping the squirt guns loaded.