You train, hyper-focus and expend all of your energy on one goal for three months – then you make it happen.
It is natural to lose interest afterwards. The newness has worn off; the excitement isn’t there anymore. Every run isn’t a new “Wow! That’s-the-furthest-I’ve-ever-run-ever!” experience. Maybe a new goal in a different area of your life has become your sole focus and now you are busy spending energy there with your running taking the backseat.
If you have lost interest after your first big race, you might be suffering from what Seth Godin has coined “The Dip” and what I will paraphrase as: The post-race dip. In his book, Seth discusses the process surrounding the timing that someone decides to quit or not quit something. If you have just run your first major race, are you going to throw in the towel for life or are you going to push through the boredom and keep running?
I was recently asked how to keep focused after your first big race. Here are my key three suggestions.
1. Immediately sign up for a new race
2. Start challenging yourself to beat your time
3. Join a running club or find a running partner
By committing to another race immediately, you will avoid the trap of becoming a one-hit racer. Do you want to embody Ah-ha with your “Take On Me” wonder-race or do you crave perennial success like U2, producing race after race?
As for time, I wasn’t concerned with setting a PR or time my first race, but now I am concentrating on shortening my race time. It gives me something to strive for, and I never realized how self-competitive I would become until I crossed the “Start” line in my first half.
If you are bored training alone, join a running club. You will learn speed-work, technique and hill drills all which will reduce your overall PR and encourage you through meeting like-minded friends.
It is natural to go into a post-race rest period, and enjoy all the hard work that a successful first venture has gifted you with. But resting on your laurels for too long could take you out of the running for the next big race.
For me, I was determined to keep running after my first half. And I have consistently. A mild-East coast fall has meant that the baby inside of me that despises cold weather hasn’t had to throw too many fits yet. Meanwhile, my blogging has fallen to the back of the priority list. It is time to get back to a running schedule and commit to my blogging schedule again. A few weeks off after a race to reflect and plan for my next goals were crucial, but it is time to keep pushing ahead! My next half is only four weeks away.
What about you? Do you have any tricks that worked after your first big race? Anything you do after each running season concludes? Any tips to get you through any boredom stretches?