What to do after a race
Crossing The Finish Line
When you cross the finish line it signifies not only the finish of the race but also the completion of a block of training. Whether the race was a success or a tough day in the office crossing the finish line is a moment to celebrate. It's a time to give yourself kudos; you did it! you survived the run, survived the training and survived the early morning wake ups.
If the race went well, then it's time to celebrate, and take the atmosphere in! Get the medal and take the selfie!
If the race didn't go to plan, then it's still a time to celebrate because you made it. Take a moment to reflect and take the atmosphere in. It would have been really easy to quit but you didn't! You found a way to get to that finish line.
The Hours Immediately After The Race
First things first, you should aim to re-hydrate with water and try and eat a piece of fruit.
But after you have re-hydrated you have a licence to eat and drink anything you like for the next 12 hours! You have earned it!
Donuts, chocolate, burgers, pizza or a sneaky beer or two are all on the menu!.
The Days After A Race
The days after a race can be really tough not only physically but also mentally. You can feel flat both physically but also mentally, as its hard to get out of bed because you're sore but you also might be laking the motivation if you don't have another race on the cards.
You need to take the days and up to 2 weeks after a solid race really easy. Running is still important and to keep your legs ticking over, but there should be very little focus on training. In the week or weeks following a race you should be just be running easy and enjoying the run, not formally training.
Too many runners push themselves too hard in training in the days and weeks after a race. They fall immediately back into their training routine, this does not allow the body sufficient time for recovery and they fall into a state of chronic fatigue. This will increase the chance of injury and significantly hamper further progress.
It's very easy to fall out of routine after a race. And if you're not running then you can lose some of your identity because you no longer feel like a runner. Again the best thing to do is to change the goal from training to just enjoy going for a run.
Alternately, find your motivation by finding something new. A new group or new coach or a new race on the horizon. Not finding a new race next week, but a couple of months away will be perfect. This will give you time to recover, train and to do it all again.
The biggest tip following a race is: run don't train, just Be A Runner!