Today, the day after Raw Challenge, as I sit in a cafe, going over the mountains of social media work I need to do that follows any event I attend, I find myself struggling for motivation.
This is not a new feeling for me. While I know that life has its ups and downs, sometimes you have days where you want to take over the world and sometimes you want to sit wrapped in a blanket watching Netflix, I can’t help but recall that like clockwork this feeling always follows events for me.
While the weather is pretty terrible in Sydney today, the type of annoying rain that sucks the joy out of things, I had this feeling while struggling to get out of bed before I looked out the window and saw the grey skies.
It’s what I call my own little version on PRD, or Post Race Depression.
A while back after noticing this little trend of mine, I decided to do a bit of research. After a few quick googles, I found that I’m certainly not alone in this, although the understood definition of PRD is a little different to what I think happens to me.
Post Race Depression is what happens to people that do huge events.
I mean like life changing events, like I’ve decided to do a marathon so I’m going to train for 6 months, eat right, sleep right and this will be everything I care about for half a year events.
One of the reasons I like to set events as targets for my clients is that its a really good way to get your ass into gear.
When you have a target, you can aim for something, much easier to kick a goal when you know where the goal posts are.
A specific target can be broken down into mini goals, and it’s much easier to get motivated to hit mini goals day to day. Those mini goals give you little victories and this refuels your motivation. Providing you stay on top of the goal planning and reset targets as you hit them, this is an amazing way to stay motivated. And herein lies the problem with PRD.
When you have such a big target, and you dedicate all your training to it, once you achieve it, once the event is done, you leave yourself with no new goal posts to aim for.
This is a really good way to screw up all your motivation into a ball and throw it out the fucken window.
The lesson here, is not to fall into this trap, you never stop working on your fitness. Your focus just changes as your interests and priorities shift. Pick a new event 😉
Now while this is a fascinating topic for me and just talking about it may help a lot of Raw Challenge first timers deal with feelings that might be popping up over the next week or two, I don’t think it’s what I’m experiencing.
While Raw this weekend might have been the most challenging thing that some of the participants might have ever faced, it was a somewhat minor event in my 2019 racing calendar.
I’m not trying to underplay anyones achievements either, in fact I celebrate them and it’s why I love the sport.
My very first obstacle Race changed my life and years later I have made it my career, I couldn’t recommend it highly enough to anyone.
But the above definition of PRD doesn’t really line up with me running Raw. This was business as usual for me, the equivalent of a fortnightly conference when I used to do business development before I left corporate life.
So what is going on here?
While I’m not backing this with anything remotely scientific and my anecdotal evidence has a sample size of one, it has been something I’ve thought about post events for probably about a year.
I have come to the conclusion that I’m actually making myself so happy that I’m getting depressed.
Like a cocaine user inhibiting the reuptake of the pleasure neurotransmitters in their brain and feeling the come down that follows, I think I’m getting hungover from being happy.
I think that when you experience something awesome, that the next day the mundane Monday morning might seem a bit shit in comparison.
To throw a little science at you, I also think what can come into play here is that after long endurance events, you will see a drop in serotonin (arousal and mood transmitter) and Dopamine (Motivation transmitter) in the brain.
This is a well known condition called Central Nervous System Fatigue, and while I probably hit enough exercise over the weekend for this to apply a bit, I get the same feelings after really short events.
I think that I am consistently doing something so incredible and getting such a large amount of happiness that I’m actually getting hungover the next day.
So I write this for you for two reasons today.
Number one I’m interested to see if this post race feeling is shared across the OCR community.
Number two is I can’t really be fucked to do much else so I’m hoping this little task will start a chain reaction of motivation and the whole day might not end up being a complete write off.
You might be wondering why I would do this, why I would regularly hit events that leave me feeling a bit rubbish the day after.
If you could regularly feel drug like highs surrounded by amazing people and get fitter in the process, my question to you becomes, why the fuck aren’t you doing it with me?