Chances are after you run a race, you’re going to be tired. All of the hard work you put in has come to a close, and you may feel a bit of mental and physical exhaustion sink in. That’s why, at least for a day or two after your race, you should take a break from running. Trust us, your mind and body will thank you.
After that initial recovery period, the choice is yours regarding how to proceed. You could take a few active recovery days where you engage in another form of exercise, like cycling, stretching, or yoga. Alternatively, you could take those days to rest and go for a few walks. If you’re an experienced runner, you may feel fine the day after a 10k and ready to run again. Each runner’s body will require a different amount of recovery time, so it’s up to you to decide how long of a break you take, and what the days following that break look like.
A word to the wise, though: Don’t jump back into running before your body is ready. You have to remember that you spent weeks training for your race, and you put your body through a lot during that time. Running will always be there; there’s no real rush to start up again. Take time to let this achievement sink in—it will help you avoid burnout in the long term.
How to learn from your race
No matter what the outcome of your race is, there is always something you can learn and take with you for future races. Think about what went well during your race and what you wish had gone better.
Did you cramp up at all?
Did you need water at any point?
Were certain miles harder than others, physically or mentally?
Did anything not go as planned?
Questions like these can give you insight into your strengths and weaknesses, and inform your training going forward. Even if you see your race as having gone poorly, it’s still worth reflecting on it. You’ll come away with better knowledge of yourself, your capabilities, and where you have room to improve.
Every runner celebrates completing a race in their own unique way—and you should celebrate in whatever way you see fit! Many runners like to celebrate with a delicious meal and surround themselves with loved ones and fellow runners.
Post-race Runkeeper team style
We asked our Runkeeper coaches what their post-race traditions are (some of which are more, let’s say, unique than others). Here’s how they celebrate after finishing a race:
Burgers & buddies
My 3 B’s of a post-race celebration are beers, burgers, and buddies! There’s nothing better than getting together to celebrate the accumulation of weeks and months of training in the pursuit of crossing another finish line. The post-race celebration is a ritual for runners and provides a great time to connect with your running community and reflect on everything that went into your training. – Dr. Justin Ross
Get some sleep
Does sleep count? Yeah, that’s where it’s at. My bed and I rekindle the lost romance from early mornings and late nights. – Alain Saint-Dic
Head to brunch
Regardless of the race outcome, I celebrate by having a satisfying brunch with my friends and family, and I thank myself for putting in the training and hard work to complete the race. I also usually toast with a nice mimosa! – Corinne Fitzgerald
I like to chow down on a protein bar (cookies and cream or vanilla are my flavors of choice) or a whey smoothie for better recovery. – Carlo J.
Selfcare and Snuggles
After I run a race hard, I like to go home and take a hot shower, put my feet (way) up, and snuggle with my best doggo, Mr. B. – Jamie H.