We talk a good deal about what to do and what not to do before a race, but the after is never really discussed, which is unfortunate because the post race window and phase is critical to setting up your next week of training and getting you back to your normal routine.
Here are five things you should avoid after finishing a race:
- Over-indulge: yes, you did an awesome job in a race and yes, you might have set a personal record, and yes you may have gone all year without an ice cream until you crossed the finish line but this does not mean scarfing down a whole quart of the stuff. Treat yourself and then get back to your normal routine but please keep in mind moderation. A beer for each mile raced is not moderation!
- Immediately fly or drive back home: Packing up your stuff and immediately hitting the road after a long race is not the wisest of ideas. Sitting for long periods of time after racing allows blood to pool and your muscles to tighten up. It will not help your recovery. Try to schedule travel the day after or even the night of to give you more time to savor your race, stretch out, get a massage, and relax.
- Pout: You may not have done as well as you had hoped but let it go. Instead enjoy just being out there and being able to participate. You have spent too much time, money, and energy to get here, savor it regardless of the final time. Most importantly, do not take your frustration out on the loved ones who are there to cheer you on. They do not care what place or time you got; they just want to see you have a good time.
- Complain to the officials/race directors and especially volunteers: If you saw serious drafting or littering or athlete 2247’s helmet was not UCI legal, let it be. You cannot prove anything unfortunately. Those people cheated but do not let it affect you. Unless it is serious like course cutting, doping, no helmet at all, or unsportsmanlike conduct to a volunteer, then complaining will just make the official’s day even longer. Keep your cool and enjoy the race.
- Brag: Yeah, you might have finished an Ironman and that is a great feeling but (unless you won Kona, your age group, or the whole thing) no need to work it into every conversation around the office coffee pot that week (please note, even if you did qualify in the above categories, keep the brag humble).
For example:“Wow, this coffee is good”
“Yeah, not as good as my mocha flavored gel that I had on mile 14 of the run after having three chocolate gels on the bike. I would have had four but I dropped it pushing 290 watts up that killer hill.”
“Oh, that is nice. I will be right back; I have to use the bathroom”
“Yeah, I went three times on the run.I feel sorry for whoever went into that portajohn at mile 22 after me…”
If a person asks how your race went, opt for “It went well. I am pleased.” followed by a “so how was your weekend?” No one wants to or needs to hear your complete race report so save it for your blog. Next week we will cover what you should do after your race. Till then!