Having an event to work towards can be a huge boost to motivation and can help keep food and training on track. Whether running, cycling or obstacles are your thing, there are a few pointers which can help you prepare as best you can, enjoy your race, and make the recovery sweeter- Whatever discipline you choose.
Read on to get the low down on things to remember post-race to finish off your challenge with a smile on your face!
Didn't catch Part 1? 6 Handy Pre-Event Tips
Part 2? 5 Top Tips For A Happy Race
Not convinced this is for you? Read Why You Should Bite The Bullet And Enter That Challenge.
1. Cool Down
As with all exercise, a cool down can help aid recovery so leave a good 10 minutes post-race to walk, get the heart rate back down to normal and stretch out. Hold the stretches for 12+ seconds per muscle and breathe deeply to relax into it.
Take a warm bath, foam rolling is a good idea too, or get a (probably well overdue) massage.
If you stiffen up and get DOMs (delayed onset muscle soreness), know this is your muscles recovering and repairing and it should peak by 48hours then die down. A gentle walk or jog in the days following your race can help to ease the aches.
Unless the event was an edurance race, nutrition shouldn't be too complicated to manage. Make sure you drink plenty of water post-race to stay well hydrated (this should help with any DOMs too) and eat a nutritious meal with plenty of protein and carb to refuel those muscles. My favourite post-race lunch: Jacket sweet potato (or sweet potato wedges) with tuna mayo filling and a ton of veggies. Perfect. Or steak. Any excuse for steak.
Side note: It's important to remember that if you're aiming to lose weight, not to go overboard with re-fuelling. This is why it's so useful to plan your food daily so you can adapt it to suit to the challenges of each day.
More reading: Tons of Quick & Easy Meal Ideas and Tips
Meal Planning: How and Why
During a race it's very likely you'll push harder than in a regular training session once that competitive buzz takes over. This is fab stuff but means you may be more tired than usual and muscles more achey than usual. If you're tired- Rest. Such simple advice, but often overlooked.
Give your body the chance to mend and recover: Good food, water, stretching/foam rolling/massage/bath, rest, gentle exercise in following days.
When you get some space, it's a great idea to reflect back on how the event went. Smile, think how hard you worked to get there and be proud of what you've accomplished!
Think back to the very beginning and start evaluating- What went well? What will you do again? Did any problems crop up? How can you prevent them next time? Do you need to change anything for next time? What? How?
Topics to run through:
- Event prep: Training
- During race: Warm up
Start line (mindset, where you stood etc)
Mindset (self talk, positivity, breaking it down, staying calm etc)
- Post race: Cool down
5. Plan Your Next Move
Once you've evaluated your performance and decided what training tricks to keep and which to switch, crack on and book your next event!
Do you want to go further? Faster? Try something new?
There are loads of great race sites out there to search through, but if you'd like some ideas or a hand with a race-prep workout plan & nutrition, take a look at the Hell Yeah Healthy Programs if you want to get serious about your training.