Ahhhh... that glorious moment you cross that finish line of the big event you've been working toward for so many months. It can feel like your training is over! But there's one more important consideration of your time and effort: recovering well.
Doing this the wrong way can not only lead to injury but it can have a negative impact on your next big event or even your next few casual runs.
Physically: Your body needs REST and proper nutrition. Fuel well with a balanced selection of carbohydrates, proteins and fats in the next couple days as your body is working to repair your damaged muscle tissues. Rehydrating is also key, with extra fluids needed especially if you didn't drink regularly during your race.
To rest doesn't (and shouldn't) mean sitting on your bum for days after, but a day or two (or a few!) off of running, depending on your event distance, is definitely in order. Consider just some light walking in the next day or so, followed by cross-training activities to gradually increase your activity level before you hit it hard on the pavement again.
ICE is also your friend in the days following an event; don't forget to reduce inflammation and tissue breakdown. Heat is not typically recommended after long runs and may exacerbate symptoms; consider holding off on a hot shower right after the race.
Mentally: You may have some effort to put in here as well! You may have some feeling of letdown now that your big goal is accomplished, or feelings of defeat if your race didn't go as planned. You're also experiencing a huge dip in endorphins during your rest phase. Be sure to schedule some relaxing activities that you enjoy or time with those girlfriends that can always make you laugh. Balanced nutrition will help you here too, as getting plenty of healthy fats with omega 3 fatty acids will help your mental outlook.
And of course, if necessary, sign up for that next big goal on your list :).
Contributed by Karissa Johnson, Founder & CEO of Moms on the Run
Today's Training Tip is sponsored by Unleash the She, our fall 5k/10k race supporting Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance. Read more on our blog and sign up to join us today!