Post Ironman Blues

The post Ironman blues are REAL and they are awful! I had a big goal on the horizon…one that I put lots of time, energy, focus, passion, heart, and courage into. I achieved that goal. I crossed the finish line of Ironman Mont Tremblant and I did so setting a shiny new PR! It is natural to feel a loss…to feel depressed with that goal no longer on the horizon and nothing to take its place.

Chasing down dreams on the Ironman Mont Tremblant course!

Sure it didn’t help that post Ironman Mont Tremblant we IMMEDIATELY drove 1200+ miles home and then I started back to work IMMEDIATELY with kids. It doesn’t help that this year has been and will continue to be a bit of a challenge in comparison to previous years, but the let down that comes with crossing the finish line of an Ironman is real. Yes, I rode cloud nine for about a week…who wouldn’t…I had a great race day and a PR on top of it! But then the blues set in and the last 9 months of focus went down the drain…I don’t have that big goal on the horizon staring me in the face forcing me to workout. I know it sounds crazy, especially since I truly LOVE swim/bike/run, but post Ironman the body needs a break…both physically and mentally. So…I listen and give my body the rest it needs. With that rest comes some depression…the post Ironman blues.

The last 5 weeks have gone by pretty quickly and I can’t believe I have swam a few times, ran ran a few times, and biked a few times…nothing consistent, nothing routine. Last Saturday, I finally felt like I was finding myself again…I let the water wash away the post Ironman blues and reconnected with Mojo! It felt amazing to be moving again! It wasn’t easy, but it was good to be moving again!

Washing away the post Ironman blues!
Reconnecting with Mojo after 4 weeks away from each other. My new Coeur Sports tri kit definitely helped motivate me to ride my bike!

Not only did I complete 2 workouts on Saturday, I also completed 3 workouts on Sunday! A run with my two faves, a trainer ride with some intensity, and a short strength training session.

Running with my faves on a beautiful morning!
Finally adding a little intensity back to the training! It felt SO GOOD!!

Then this last week, I was sidelined with unexpected craziness with work. Sure, I got in a few workouts. Not at all what I was hoping for, but some people and things are WAY more important that completing a workout.

I’ve overcome the post Ironman blues 4 times before. How? I’m not really sure. Signing up for future races has helped in the past, but I typically sign up for those races later in the year when I’m actually ready to train again. Sure I’ve signed up for a race or two for next year, but they are so far away that I don’t feel the need to be training for them just yet. So…for now, I just put one foot in front of the other and take it one day at a time. I know the post Ironman blues will subside yet again…with time!

Have you experienced the post Ironman blues? If so, how did you combat them?

15 thoughts on “Post Ironman Blues

  1. Oh yes, they are real! I agree that taking a couple of weeks off after is needed for proper body and mental recovery too. I had a few days this week where my first instinct was to get on my bike in my free time. After Ironman is a good time to pick up on that deserted home project, more time walking dogs, volunteer at other events, catch up with friends who aren’t triathletes, read books, clean the house, etc. Enjoy fall, and onward to the next season when it’s time to focus again!

    1. Yes Steena! I definitely have some yard work to do, but with the heat index of 101 yesterday, I opted to forgo that idea! I hope you get to enjoy all of your favorite things as you take a break from the Ironman training! ❤️

  2. After saying that I was gonna no to drop down o 70.3’s after this summers ironman Hamburg it took all of three weeks before I hit the enter button of ironman Wales next year !
    Set your next challenge and commit to it that’s focused my mind.

    1. Congratulations on signing up for IM Wales! With the last 4 years focused on IM training, I have committed to 70.3s for the coming year, which is a good decision for me since work is so stressful this year. Best not to stress the body in too many areas at once! 😉

  3. I’m so feeling this with you Kecia. Jumping right back into a new teaching job immediately afterwards was probably not the greatest way to combat the blues, but at least I’m busy. I miss my run routine the most. Serious dopamine withdrawal for me to be taking so much time away! Hugs to you, xo

  4. Yep, they are real. I knew when I signed up that I would only do it once and training reaffirmed that. Too much time taken away from family and other things for me to consider it a lifestyle. I went right back to running (marathon 2 months after IM, then another 2 months later, then another 3 months later, then an ultra) with sprints triathlons thrown in. It didn’t help. Looking back it dragged on for over 2 years. I never found anything that captured my imagination like my first IM. It shows in my training and my speed (or lack thereof). My final events (possibly forever) are next weekend (Twin Cities Marathon Weekend “Loony Challenge” – 10k/5k Saturday, 10 Mile Sunday. I no longer enjoy running all over town for events and races. I am not breaking new ground (not going farther or faster) and just had to admit I’m not having fun anymore. I want to maintain fitness and health but have come to the conclusion that I don’t need a starters coral or finish line to accomplish this. Comparing my current abilities to others or to myself does not motivate me. Ironman was magical. I chased that high for years after and have come to accept that, like many things in life, it was a magical moment that I am better of treasuring then trying to replicate. And that awareness is what pulled me out of the post Ironman blues I think. All the best with your off-season!

    1. I understand completely! I have more IM goals on the horizon, but not working toward them right now. My body needs time to rest, recover, and rebuild. That is what is so hard on me mentally. I just want to keep going and do what I love all the time! Try to find joy this next weekend in your adventures!

  5. I’m so glad that you are starting to perk up from your post-race blues. It looked like you two had such an amazing race vacation! Going back to real life must be tough. I didn’t do a big race, but did meet my goals this summer and have been struggling with motivation as well. I have no idea what I want for next season, so it does make it harder to get myself out the door for a workout.

    1. The amazing vacation definitely didn’t help with the post race blues! I really didn’t want to return to reality, it I guess it has to happen so I can take the time off and do what I love!

  6. They are super real. They hit me hard after my first 70.3. I wasn’t expecting them and they were rough. I was a little surprised how hard they hit after 70.3 World Championships this year. Thought I had a handle on them, but after two years of singular focus I had a tough time finding a new goal. Back on track now and gearing up for my first full in 2018.

    1. I’ve been racing IM or 70.3 distances since 2009. They don’t get any easier with time and experience either. What full are you doing in 2018?!

      1. I’m doing Maryland (assuming there is no hurricane this year). Was originally thinking Mont Tremblant, but the flat Maryland course favors my riding style and the date proximity to Kona and Louisville should present a field that favors my 140.6 goal for 2019. 😉

      2. Nice! Yes, hopefully no hurricane this year! Mont Tremblant is a MAGNIFICENT race! Definitely one of my favorites! I’m pretty sure I’m racing Ironman Louisville in 2018 and Ironman Lake Placid in 2019. 😉

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