Battling the post-UTA slump

By Coach Graham Hand and Gemma Holly

A couple of weeks after UTA and the post-run high has well and truly worn off. It might be quite a while until your next big race, and even though you know you’re physically fit, you’re struggling to run even a short distance on the footpath.

So how do you get your mojo back? How do you recover mentally as well as physically in the month or so that follows the big dance?

Well the first thing you need to know is you’re not alone! It’s entirely normal to lose your motivation after a big race, and UTA – whichever event you ran in – is definitely one of the biggest.

Q: Why don’t I have any energy anymore? My legs are heavy and I feel unfit. I can’t even run 10k!
A: Your body is in a state of repair after the big dance. Do more walking, yoga, swimming and low impact running until your body recovers.

Q: I have no motivation to get out the door. I don’t even want to walk up the stairs in my house, let alone do a stair session at training. Where can I find my mojo?
A: Set some new goals, shift focus to speed over strength for a month and continue the ritual of movement and waking up at the same time. Work on your 5k time and getting that PB down, the rest will flow.

Q: I’ve been reflecting on my UTA race and feeling like I should have pushed harder or done better. How do I get over this guilt?
A: Racing is unpredictable and unforgiving. Feeling like you could have done better and pushed more is common post-race. When reflecting on the race, draw from the experience so that next year you can alter parts of the race where you thought you could have gone harder and remember the things that worked.

Q: Some of my toenails are still black. Will I lose them?
A: Yes, new ones will grow and ol’ blacky will come loose in a few weeks/months time.

Q: Why am I always hungry?
A: Your body is trying to maintain the same regime it did pre-race so being hungry is common as your body is trying to maintain the status quo.

It’s nearly impossible to be highly motivated all the time. If you are missing your runner’s high, then the good news is it won’t be long until you find it again. If you started running in recent years, you may recall a time when preferring to sit on the lounge and polish off a block of Cadbury’s while watching Game of Thrones was normal – the fact that you know this is NOT normal and you don’t enjoy it means you are still a runner. Be kind to yourself and enjoy some social runs.

Ideally, the best way to get back your mojo is to sign up for another race that is long enough away that it motivates you towards new goals. For non-coached athletes getting a running coach will help you pinpoint races and get you fit and running well towards your next goal. UP Coaching has a great range of coaches who can help you on your running journey.

Check it out

A reminder that UP Coaching is an affiliated club with Athletics NSW and this year’s membership gets you entry to some amazing races to keep you motivated all year round.

Click here for more info.

Some events to target for the remainder of the year.

  • Woodford to Glenbrook
  • Sutherland to Surf
  • Bay Run
  • Centennial Park Ultra
  • City 2 Surf
  • The Color Run
  • NSW Waratah Series
  • Sydney Trail Series
  • Rafferty’s Coastal Run
  • Run the Great Whitsunday Trail Run
  • Coastal Classic
  • Melbourne Marathon
  • Blackmores Sydney Running Festival
  • Western Sydney Marathon/Half/10k/5k
  • SIDS Stampede

If you would like UP Coaching to help you towards your next running goal, acquiring the support of a qualified and experienced Coach like Graham is the first step.

Contact Head Coach Brendan at to discuss your coaching options.

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