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Question
Posted by: JJ | 2007/03/16

Post race depression

I have done two 10km this year for the first time in my life. Why do I feel depressed and not interested in anything after the race. It usually lasts up to 3-4 days after the race or even more. Is my body not coping? I am 35, single and recently diagnosed with high blood pressure. Should I go and see a medical doctor?

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Our expert says:
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Hi JJ

These are two separate questions. For the high BP, I would certainly see a doctor, because there are really effective treatments for that and you can easily get onto those and reduce that BP very quickly.

As for your post-race depression, I'm not sure exactly what is causing that. I do know that for big races like the Comrades, people often have this problem after the race, because they've put a year's worth of energy and effort into one race, and when it's finished, they are empty and without a goal for the first time in many months. Perhaps this is problem, though for a 10 km it is quite easy to find another race in a few week's time, so you have a goal pretty much all the time.

I guess the other problem is fatigue after the race. This could easily make you lethargic. It depends on what you feel like during the race. Do you train for these races? Do you feel during the race that you are pushing too hard and are you exhausted while doing them? Perhaps these are factors at play.

Finally, perhaps you are building expectations of yourself before you race and then when these are not met, you are depressed about it? I'm guessing here, because I don't have a lot to go on, but maybe you are expecting a lot and not achieving it?

Sorry I can't be more precise, it's all a bit of guesswork on my part.

Good luck

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