There are so many articles about “how to prepare for a race.”
What to do… what to eat… how to train… what to wear… and even what not to do…
Then, of course, there are all of the articles about how to actually “execute” the race and strategies for great racing. If you’re looking for an article on how to get to the starting line smartly, then there is no shortage of information.
But what happens after a race? What happens the moment you cross the finish line? Whether you achieved your goal or not, the race is over but now what do you do?
Where are the articles to tell you what you should be doing directly after a race? Follow these steps and you’ll be able to recover quickly and crush your next race.
1) Directly after a race, you should walk
The moment you cross the finish line, don’t stop. Just keep moving. First, don’t stop because someone could run into you. Second, it’s important not to sit right after any race.
Walking around keeps blood flowing in your legs. It prevents cramps and allows you to recover much faster. After you’ve walked around at least 10-15 minutes, then stretch.
You don’t have to power walk. Walking can be as simple as cheering for other racers or looking at post race activities. Just don’t sit down! Believe me, the first thing I wanted to do after the New York City Marathon was to sit, but thankfully I walked (not that you have a choice). My legs recovered much faster.
2) Next, you need to eat
Grab water and a snack that includes carbohydrates, protein, and fat. You need to consume something 30 minutes after the race. Eating is one of the most important things you can do!
3) Your stomach might say no, but your body says yes
It’s important to get protein into your system to boost your recovery. Personally, I will eat junk food over eating nothing. I will pretty much eat anything over nothing. Your body needs to the fuel directly after a race more than ever!
4) Rest is best
Sure, you might cross the finish line dreaming of your next race, but please take the time to rest and recover. Take a week to relax and not worry about speed workouts, long runs and fitness.
You won’t burn out, and your body will be well rested for your next race. You won’t lose fitness in a week so don’t let that thought cross your mind. Going into hard training directly after a race causes your body to be more susceptible to injury.
5) Post-race emotion is real
You’ve just run a big race. Don’t be surprised if you feel sad, training is over, happy you reached your goal or anything in between. After every race, I’ve felt a different emotion whether it’s joy, sadness, excitement, burnout, whatever!
Sometimes, you might even feel depressed that the “big event” is over. Don’t worry; there are plenty of races to run, and you have a long time to prepare for the next.
6) Reflect and evaluate
During the last few months, you’ve put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into training. Evaluate what worked for you and what didn’t. Did you reach your goals? Did you get to where you wanted? What could you have done differently? Reflecting will help you reach your goals
The more time you dedicate to recovering appropriately, the faster you will recover and the better you’ll feel.