What Now???

Susan Donnelly on run at Ben Nevis peak cairn

That big race you focused on for soooo long is over - and you finished! 

But the congratulations have died down and things are kind of…quiet.

“Now what??” you wonder.

If you laser-focused on that race, you might be feeling a little lost. Maybe even down. And, if you admit it, kind of unmotivated the post-race blues have come to call. 

There’s suddenly all this empty space in your life.

Your body’s in peak shape but your mojo went AWOL and it stole your interest in running on the way out the door.

You run less, which gets you down, which erodes your remaining motivation, which makes you feel like running less, and so on, in a downward spiral.

The most common advice is to sign up for another race - quick! - and yes, your mind needs a new goal for direction, but I’m going to suggest something else first.

Take this quiet moment to plan ahead so you can stop reacting and end the downward spirals.

Decide what you want your 5-year, 10-year, or ultimate goal to be.

Then define the races and other steps it will take to get there. 

That’s what you need to sign up for.

How is this different?

We usually rush off willy-nilly to sign up for a new race, the faster the better, to avoid feeling those blues. We’ll take the first race that sounds interesting, that has a pretty website photo, or that a friend suggests without considering what we want to see when we look back on our time in the sport.

We don’t typically think about the big picture of our running lives far in advance. We sign up for miscellaneous races that we think will make us happy and once we finish, we're not necessarily happier, so we do it again hoping for different result.

Headed in no particular direction.

Instead, I want you to plan your direction.

It can be simple. 

It can be unrealistically pie-in-the-sky.

As long as it’s exciting and satisfying to you. Something you truly want.

Like “Run a 100-mile race on every continent,” “Run at least at least five races, including one new one every year,” “Use my running to help others,” or “Up the challenge every year in a scare-citing way.”

Then when it's quiet after a big race, you know exactly what to do - schedule and train for the next one that gets you closer to your ultimate goal.

Susan DonnellyGoals