DEALING WITH POST EVENT FATIGUE:
Welcome to the first part of a 2 part special where I explain the details of post event fatigue. In this mini series I will be focusing on the psychological and physical elements of performance over the course of a race/event weekend and detailing how you can overcome this.
Helping you to increase your motivation, and enjoyment of doing what you love.
This week I will start with the psychological impact of a race weekend and how to get your mind back on track with enjoying your runs, or rides. Let's get into it:
The psychological aspects of burnout:
When we enter an event we do so because we want to do well. Due to this we put pressure on ourselves, increase our levels of concentration and also demand more from ourselves. We look back on the event afterwards for days thinking about what went well, what went wrong and analyse our performance constantly.
When we are competing in events the brain has to work on numerous levels, runners have to constantly track their pace and make sure they are sticking to their pre determined speed. Mountain bikers have to think about the conditions, the features in the trail and concentrate to get down safe, and road cyclists have to think about pot holes, the route, their pace and their energy levels (not to mention how the UCI will try to ban them for blinking too many times).
Your brain consumes about 20% of your daily energy expenditure on a regular day. So, think of a race as your brain working overtime.
When you combine this we regular life, and getting back on track the weekend after the race. it is only natural for your mind to feel de motivated and less interested in doing what you "love".
So, how can you combat this?
The first thing I would suggest people do is reflect, analyse and write down their performance. Either do this on a device like your laptop, or phone or use paper. Analysing your performance is great but you need to keep this logged in otherwise it will constantly be on your mind.
You will be fearful of forgetting your post race analysis and as such will constantly re live the event. If you summarise your performance on paper you have a hard copy of your feedback.
Just like saving something on your laptop's hard drive, essentially.
My personal favourite would be on paper, as you can buy a book for a few pounds and keep this as a race log.
Once this is done you can move away from the event and look forwards.
If you needed to work on technical skills then go out and ride some tech, schedule this into your riding and enjoy riding the bike on this type of terrain.
If you need to work on your fitness then consider hiring a coach, or get out and put the graft in more.
Do you just have chilled rides with mates? Try riding with someone who is more skilled or fitter than you to push you further along.
Knowing you are making progress is the best motivator you can have to get out and do your thing and this is achieved by a combination of analysing your performance, and working on the weaknesses you highlighted
*Side note: Don't neglect your strengths either!
Bear in mind as well that all motivation is individual, for me. Racing in events takes the fun away from riding and there is only so much I can take before I get bored of racing as I find it's just punishing on my body, I get tired and then less interested.
So limiting my races and just going out for a laugh with my mates is also something that I focus on doing to keep me motivated.
If you are someone who is motivated by performance however, booking events in advance so you have a racing schedule (season) is something that could work for you. Doing this, and keeping the races close to your mind is a great way to stay focused.
Tick one event off and move closer towards the next.
If this is how you operate at your best then having an action board is a great idea. This can be anything from a whiteboard to a cork board (mine is my laptop background). On the action board you need to put an image of the event and a goal for that event. Make these goals flow so you can see your self improving as you progress through your year. for example:
Event: Sheffield half marathon.
Goal: Complete the event in under 3 hours.
How I will achieve this: Run.
Analysis: Event completed in 2 hours 33 minutes, felt strong until the three quarter mark and then felt weak in my ankles.
Event 2: Brighton marathon.
Goal: Feel less weak in my joints and have more stamina.
How I will achieve this: Invest in my strength and conditioning and make sure that my body is strong enough to handle greater distance.
This an example of how goal setting can work for the performance minded. Using goal setting is a key factor in staying on top of your game with regards to your motivation and you will find ALL high performers have goals they set for an event/season.
Performance analysis and goal setting is a great way to get motivated again after an event, as is resting and chilling out. Just focusing on enjoying the sport you do.
My final advice would be to take time, reflect on the event about what you liked, what you disliked and then analysis how you performed.
For example: This weekend I enjoyed the result. I didn't necessarily enjoy the riding. So for me I need to strip it back and just enjoy riding trails on my bike. So the next time I ride. That is exactly what I am going to go out and do.
I hope you enjoyed the information in this blog and it has helped you in some way.
If you feel like this is something you struggle with, click the button below to get in touch and share your experience!
Have a great day.