You did it – you just completed the race you have been training for for the last couple months. The medal is around your neck, you’re tired and proud. If you have recently completed a race and crossed it off your bucket list, your workout routine has been consumed by running for quite some time. When you do the same workout for a while, your body becomes more efficient and you can get through the same routine while burning fewer calories. Because of this, you may have noticed weight gain during your training, or you may just be itching to switch it up.

So, once you’ve crossed the finish line, what’s the best thing to do for your body? We have you covered with tips on what to do from the minute you cross the finish line to the weeks after!

  1. Immediately after you cross the finish line…

    Don’t stop! Keep walking and keep your body moving. Abruptly stopping can cause cramping and tightness, making recovery much more difficult. Grab a water bottle or chocolate milk (great for muscle recovery post-workout) and take a stroll for 10-15 minutes post-race.

  2. On the day of your race…

    Immediately after your race, replenish your body with plenty of water, and electrolyte-infused drink, and a meal heavy in protein and carbohydrates. Once you’ve replenished your body’s nutrients it’s time to stretch and soothe your muscles. They just did a lot for you – reward them!

    Try giving yourself a cheap deep-tissue massage by foam rolling the front and back of your legs, your back, shins, and your IT band. Roll out each area of your body for 1 minute, then move on to stretching. Stretch each of your major muscle groups for at least 30 seconds. You should be feeling pretty good at this point, but to feel even better, consider taking a nap or starting a movie marathon. You got up early to kick butt in your race; you deserve some rest and relaxation! Take it easy for the rest of the day to prevent you from getting sick or overdoing it.

  3. Over the next few days post-race… Recover.

    Take the week off from running – you certainly deserve it! Taking a break from running for the next seven days not only feels like a reward, but it is what is best for your body. All of the impact you put on your joints leading up to your race and during has worn your body down. Allowing your body to recover from this will help keep you from getting sick and help you when it’s time to get back on the workout grind.

  4. One week post-race… it’s time to get moving again!

    Mix up your workout routine now that you have the flexibility to do so. Incorporate different forms of exercise like Power Yoga, Spinning, and total body strength training. For this week try to stay away from high impact exercise such as Cross Fit. Just get moving and try new things.

  5. Two weeks post-race… It’s time to make a game plan.

    One of the best parts of training is the structure and routine it provides you. Just because you’ve crossed the finish line, doesn’t mean you should stray away from the structure of a training plan. Creating a schedule for yourself helps keep you accountable to your workouts and keep you making strides towards your fitness goals. So you crossed the finish line, congrats! What other fitness and health goals do you have? Do you want to be stronger? More toned? More flexible? Run a faster race? Write it down and make a plan that will help you reach those goals through at least 5 days of physical activity per week. Keep yourself accountable and your body will display the results of your hard work. Not sure where to start with your new program? Check out all of the workouts we have and include two lower body, two upper body, and one or two ab workouts into your weekly routine.

More than anything, after your race it is important to be proud of your accomplishment and celebrate! Just be sure to get back into it as soon as you’re recovered.

Manon McGovern

Manon McGovern, creator of The Traveling Trainer, is a fitness and weight management specialist who loves sharing her passion for a healthy lifestyle. She studied Exercise Science at The Ohio State University and started personal training and teaching group exercise classes to introduce herself into the fitness world. She enjoys personal training and teaching Yoga, Spinning, KickBoxing, and strength classes. Now working... Read More

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