How To Beat The Post Race Blues


OMG! I Did It! … Now What?

Have you ever achieved something for which you have worked and/or trained for a long time only to have the feeling of elation and excitement at accomplishing your goal quickly replaced by a feeling of loss, confusion, and even depression?

It’s a very real phenomenon that athletes call the “post race blues,” and it can sideline even the most diehard competitors for weeks, even months, after a major race.

This article offers a glimpse into the psychology of preparing for a big event and what happens mentally when that big goal is achieved. Armed with that awareness, we can take the proper steps to beat the “post race blues” before they ever even begin.

Two years ago I tested for my 3rd degree black belt in Chinese Kempo Karate. I spent months training myself physically and mentally for that test and it was a big deal for me. Testing weekend finally arrived and Angie Flynn and I flew to Virginia where the test would be conducted.

There was a lot of ceremony and protocol surrounding the test – we even hiked up a mountain and had our belt ceremony at the peak at sunrise – it was really cool.

And then it was over…

The phrase "now what?" spray painted on a brick wall.

And I had no clue what to do with myself…

Because even though it was a big, huge deal for ME, to the rest of the world I was still just Deb Cheslow, Coach and Speaker, and I had clients to meet with bright and early on Monday morning. I accomplished something wonderful, but the rest of the world really didn’t care. I mean, it’s not like I won the Daytona 500 or anything.

And I felt lost…

And then I felt ungrateful – like a spoiled brat who couldn’t just be happy with all the good in my life.

I was in a “funk” for weeks, with no passion for working out or karate or much of anything at all. Eventually, I snapped out of it, but it was a difficult time.

And then, last summer, I watched Angie go through the same exact thing training for and competing in a triathlon. She was obsessed with the training for months. And when race day came, she raced hard and finished very strong, but then it was over. And she didn’t know what to do with herself when Monday morning rolled around and there was nothing on the training calendar.

It took weeks for her to re-engage her workouts, and that was only because she registered for another race.

And when I started analyzing it, it made perfect sense.

You see, I have built a whole career around equipping people with the systems and the tools they need to set big, fantasy-type goals and then to stay in the right mindset so that they continue on the path to achieve those goals.

But what do we do when we finally reach the finish line? What happens when we achieve that big goal? Then what?

First of all, CONGRATULATE yourself! You set a HUGE goal and you took daily, consistent action toward it for months – maybe even years – and the day has finally arrived!

You’ve lost that last pound…

You competed in that 5K, 10K, warrior dash, marathon, triathlon… whatever…

You’ve landed the big client…

You’ve earned a million dollars…

You’ve taken the dream vacation…

You’ve purchased that car or home that you’ve been dreaming about…

Whatever it is that represents true success to you, you’ve achieved it.

And when the results are posted and the medals are awarded and the last picture is snapped you find yourself looking around, feeling a little bit lost, thinking, “Okay, NOW what?”

And, like me, you don’t dare voice that question for fear that people will think of you as ungrateful or selfish, but the truth is, having achieved your goal, you feel a bit like a boat without a rudder.

I know you might not want to hear this, but they don’t call me the Queen of Straight Talk for nothing – I’m not here to tell you what you want to hear, I’m here to tell you what you need to hear.

Now that you’ve achieved that big goal, you have to consider yourself at the starting line again – you have to set a new, even bigger goal.

You see, the status quo is a myth – there is no stasis. Everything is in a state of constant motion – and that motion will either take you forward or backward.

You are either creating – like you were when you were going after your goal – or you are disintegrating – losing ground and going backwards.

For me, that next thing was a 120 mile Gran Fondo bike race. For Angie it was an Olympic Distance triathlon, then a half marathon, and now she’s training for a Half-Iron Distance Triathlon and a full marathon.

We set big goals that we aren’t quite sure HOW we are going to achieve, and then we take daily, consistent action toward them.

Human beings are goal achieving organisms from the time we are born. So, if you find yourself in the clutches of the “post race blues,” take some time to figure out what is next – what’s the new standard? And then start the process all over again, set a new goal – and then go get it!

About Deb Cheslow

Deb Cheslow is America’s Achievement Expert. She is a speaker, a #1 international best-selling author, and peak performance consultant, working with businesses and individuals, worldwide, to help them transform, optimize, and accelerate their desired results. Learn more about Deb Cheslow at

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