Is there a correlation between a structured pre-race training and dietary regime and a post-race binge? Or, in anthro parlance, is a post-race binge a type of a rite of rebellion that is simler in function to the temporary reversals of normally restrained social behavior by observant Catholic participants celebrating life after Lent at Mardi Gras and or urban office workers going native at Burning Man?
Or, are post-race binges mostly bio-cultural responses to, and releases from, the chronic pressure experienced trying to fit in a structured and daily regime of workouts, employment reponsibilities, family and other pressures combined with a restrictive sports nutrition diet? Basically living each day with a chronic low-level psychological and physical stress up to race day. Are the post-race carbo and beer cravings due, in part, to a physiological stress response(elevated glucocorticoid levels)* after the end of a temporary period of acute physical and psychological stress felt during racing?
Or are both of these factors, structured life style and a release of stress, involved in post-race binging? If you are really stressed before race start and feel pressure (to PR, qualify for Boston or IM or Olympic Trials, etc.), will those factors and increased amount of stress BEFORE the race predict an increased amount of partying AFTER the race? (I’m thinking of Michael Phelps getting caught partying with abandon by the media a few months ago. I mean after years of living like an Olympic monk, can you blame him for letting his guard down and doing stupid things–especially at his age?)
I’m doing two research surveys, one for triathletes and the other for runners, to determine if there are any correlations between pre-race behavior and self-report stress response symptoms and post-race “going Carnival” (binging) behavior.
I’m doing this research of the cultures of runners and triathletes as part of my MA thesis as a graduate student of anthropology at CSUN. Links to the surveys will be posted soon at this blog.
If you are a runner or a triathlete please feel free to comment on this research with your own thoughts and experiences.
* see my next posting for an explanation of physiological and psychological stress-responses