We are in it. It started with the Open, preps us for Festivus and continues through the summer. Competition season is upon us (Honestly, when is it never upon us?) Spring and summer are generally when athletes who have never competed begin to consider participating in local events.
There is a lot of prep that gets done in order to be ready for the big day. It is a mental and physical day. But often times it’s the days after the competition that are the most difficult.
Post Competition Blues (PCB) is real. Although not much is written about it in CrossFit, it is well documented in the bodybuilding world. Not everyone gets it but its best to know about it so that you can do your best to plan to avoid it.
In the days or weeks following a competition, an athlete may experience a profound lack of motivation, frustration and negativity toward training and maybe even sadness. The days leading to a comp are filled with anticipation and nervousness and then immediately following, lots of celebration. Members find themselves wanting to get right back into the gym without rest in order to continue those feelings of euphoria. Shortly after, athletes are faced with the inevitable “Now what?” Intesnity drops, guilt for not working harder creeps in and potentially regret.
If you have experienced any of the above then you know exactly what I am talking about. If you haven’t…keep doing what you are doing!
Consider factors that may contribute to a post comp crash. During training for a local competition, lifestyle changes in subtle ways . There is a new focus, a new reason for getting into the gym. Relationships with the coaches and the gym crew shift with this new focus. New relationships are developed with teammates. Schedules may change to include team workouts specific to the competition. There may be a little isolation from the regular gym community. Diets get an overhaul. Weaknesses are faced full on while improving or learning new skills. There is anxiety about the competition itself and not wanting to let teammates down. Overall though, athletes are working hard, getting fitter, feeling great and having fun.
Then, it ends. Everything goes back to “normal”, but what is normal now?
The best way to train for a competition is to have a plan. This includes the post competition phase as well.
First and foremost… Enjoy the journey!
This is about learning and challenging yourself. Not the outcome.
Be prepared to take time off both a few days before and a few days after the competition. I know you don’t want to, do it anyway. This doesn’t mean laying in bed eating chips all day. Rest your body from the stress of competing but keep moving. Mobilize, foam roll, go for a walk, play with the kids. Move without intention.
After the competition be aware of how your lifestyle will change. Write it down. Plan your schedule in advance so that you are not left with the “I should be moving” feeling. Decide now what your diet will look like after competition.
Force yourself back into the gym. Turn your back to the clock and tell your coach that you are not going to workout for time. Its OK to just workout. Enjoy the movement. After finishing in the top two of the CrossFit games a few year ago, Josh Bridges worked out in our gym while visiting family. I watched him just exercise.
Reflect on what you have learned about yourself from competition. Consider what you’d like to improve. Let those things be your new goals. Skill PR’s are the best Pr’s.
Reflect on the postives and give yourself credit for having challenged yourself.
Don’t be afraid to talk to your coaches about how you may be feeling. Our goal is to give you the best experience you can have and help you through the entire process. Competition is meant to challenge and inspire. It is meant to take your awareness and training to a new level. The training intensity must subside, the body cannot sustain high level intensity without regular rest. The awareness of who you are, what you want and what your body can do when you ask it, never goes away.