Post Goal Race Accomplishment Syndrome or PGRAS for short is a depression, funk, cloud, or rut feeling sometimes experienced by endurance runners within the year following completion of their big goal race such as a 100 miler. Symptoms can include, but may not be limited to a "What Now" feeling, lack of motivation, and a loss of mojo, zen, passion, along with an increase in around the abdomen, buttocks, and thigh regions.
Today I am speaking as former sufferer of PGRAS in hopes that I might offer some help to some of my friends currently dealing with PGRAS and anyone else who might be affected by PGRAS.
The first things you need to know is that the year after your goal race accomplishment can and probably will suck and it will not be easy, but ultimately that really depends on you. I have 3 things that can help you get back to "your" normal.
1. Mix in a little or a lot of non running training activities in addition or in place of your running to spice it up. Try doing things such as swimming, weight training, biking, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, cross fit, yoga. The point is to find something fun to get and keep you moving. I can speak from experience and say that too much time off will only lead to an increase weight, injuries, and just plain bad luck in general it seems.
2. Set new goals. "He who fails to plan, plans to fail." Not having any goals makes you like a rudderless ship getting tossed around by whatever the day or race may throw at you. When things go great it is no problem, but when things go poorly it is just plain miserable. I wouldn't necessarily pick out another really big goal mind you less we become an accomplishment junkie always having to have a big goal to strive for so we can push ourselves. Pick out goals that are fun but still challenging yet attainable with "reasonable" effort.
3. Have fun!!! What makes us passionate about running? Remember why we run in the first place. For me it is for fitness, to see how far I can push myself, and for FUN. I accomplished my one 100 mile finish. 100 miles is the farthest distance I have any desire to cover and I finished it so I am good. That takes me back to "what now" right? Well I can still see how far I can push myself in how fast I can complete certain distances and courses. Let's not forget the other two reasons I run: fitness and FUN. I would dare say that if we did not somewhat enjoy running we would not do it all. So let's go back to what it is about running that makes us passionate about it. Get out on some group runs with a crazy friend or friends, take it all in, live in the moment, and remember to just HAVE FUN. Make this your number one goal for the year after your goal race accomplishment. To quote a great friend who is very inspiring and fun loving, "Breathe in. Breathe out. Life is good my friends."
I would be remiss if I didn't add a bonus step to the recovery process. Celebrate your accomplishment! Live it up and take pride in what you have done. Look back at just what you have accomplished and let it be the fuel that helps drive you forward and propel you into new adventures.
Hope I was of some help. Thanks for reading.
*Mick Quen is not a registered physician. His medical license comes from Whole Grains University in a box and he accidentally poured milk on it and had to hang it up so it would dry off. His findings and opinions may be pure horse manure.*
Run Like a Horse,