Got P.E.L.D.? Anticipating and Managing Post Event Let-Down

Athletes who focus on one or a few events per year often experience a particular pattern of emotions around the event. The last few days before a long-course triathlon, marathon or endurance bike ride there is a mix of anxiety and excitement. On event day, it all comes together and you complete your event, but with a few little things you’d like to do differently “next time.” The next day or two you are high on life, you scan the calendar for the next event and start making plans to start training better than ever. Then, somehow when it comes time to ride or run or swim, the motivation just isn’t there. You know you should be training, but you don’t want to.

This is normal, post-event let-down (PELD). If you don’t expect PELD, it can make you question your devotion, your seriousness as an athlete, and so on, causing all sorts of unnecessary anxiety and maybe leading you to quit altogether. Now that you’ve read this note though, you know to expect it. PELD usually lasts 2-3 weeks, so rather than trying to force yourself to start training sooner, talk with your coach about planning a 2-3 week period of very light, minimally structured training after a major event, and plan to ramp your training back up only after that rest period. It’s time to start again when you start missing training, but not sooner. If you anticipate and allow for PELD, you can happily do events year after year, learning from each one and returning to do better in the next.