I had heard and read about this thing that supposedly happens to triathletes after they finish an Ironman called Post IronMan Depression or PIMD.
There is suppose to be this big let down afterwards. I mean you’ve trained you’re butt off for close to one year, foregoing all relationships and forgetting about sleeping in until 7:00 on the weekends.
You’re constantly on the go either working or training. You’re life becomes defined by the last big workout you did and competing in an Ironman.
The let down can be huge, leading to depression. Next can come lethargy and the inability to motivate for any type of workout. And heck, while you’re at it, all those delicious foods you abstained from while training, you might as well start enjoying again.
And so the cycle begins…depression, no exercise, bad food choices…and then more depression.
PIMD - Say it ain't so!
So what’s a (newly) ordained Ironman to do?
I don’t know about anybody else but I can tell you what I’ve done to stave off PIMD. I gave myself some goals…..
1. Sign up for next seasons Ironman. About 3 months before Ironman Cozumel, I signed up for my second IM. Not knowing if I would actually like this Ironman stuff, but pretty sure I was going to….
2. Lose some FAT. After training for a year, and never having the opportunity to restrict calories to reduce my weight in fat…Two weeks post IM I have begun a “diet” to drop fat during this down time. After consulting with my sports nutritionist and coach, it was unannomous that this would be my only opportunity to do this.
3. Embrace and Enjoy a month of no serious/planned training. Since I had decided to restrict calories and now was the best time to relax on my training plan- I have opted to enjoy my friends, movies, sleeping in until 7:00 on the weekends, no 5:00 am Masters swims….you get the picture. I just wake up and do a half to full hour of WHATEVER I WANT! How fun is that! And the key here…is 6 days a week I do some type of exercise.
4. Plan an early season Race. Get your first race of the season on the calendar. I am kicking off 2010 with Rage Long Course Triathlon. They will have two qualifiying spots per age group for the Worlds Long Course Team. Now this is movitating me tremendously! I am motivated to stay motivate! I am motivated to lose fat! I am motivated to kick butt when I get back to serious training in January…..You get the picture.
5. Try a New Sport- or get back to an Old Favorite. I was an avid rock climber for 15 years, many years ago. I say that climbing is my first love yet I haven’t taken time to climb in about 7 years. So, in this down time I have dusted off my climbing harness and shoes and gotten out to the climbing gym. It’s great cross training and I’m hoping to keep it in my training plan once January rolls around.
I have been able to stave off PIMD. I’m over 3 weeks post Ironman and have not felt depressed nor unmotivate. Actually, I am really looking forward to January 1st and getting back into serious training. I have embraced this month off and looked for ways to use this time to my advantage…plus having the goal of qualifiying for Worlds is really, really motivating me!!!!
Don’t know if this will help anyone, but I hope it can….I know this game plan has kept me positive and hopefully lighter at the end of it all!