“Post-race blues” is a term coined by many runners to describe the feelings of sadness that can set in once a race is complete. While the post-race blues isn’t clinically defined, it is a common experience in the running world.
The post-race blues may be considered a form of situational depression. Medical News Today defines situational depression as, “an adjustment disorder with depressed mood.” Their article on the matter says clinical depression, (defined as a “major depressive disorder,” and requiring more extensive treatment) can develop if the person doesn’t recover.
Feeling upset after accomplishing a goal can seem counterintuitive, but it can happen to any runner no matter the outcome of the race. Many professional athletes have expressed a similar sentiment, describing crippling depression that set in after the Olympics. HBO examined this issue in their 2020 documentary, “The Weight of Gold.”