Post Race; What Should I do the Day After a Race?
What’s up Triathletes?
What you do the day after a race can be a little confusing. It depends if the race you just completed was a long, hard effort, an “A” race or just a training race – meaning you are still training for a faster or longer race in a few weeks or months. Most races will take more out of you than a normal training day due to getting up early and all the mental and physical fatigue regardless of how hard you raced. It’s a call you must make based on how you’re feeling when you wake up, how long your race was, and what you’re training for.
Sleep – Please take the day after the race to sleep in or at least take a nap the same day of the race. There is no better recovery tool than sleep.
Complete DAY OFF – If this race was your “A” race and you’re ready to take a break, take a complete day off. Take the time to analyze the race results while they are fresh in your mind by writing a post- race report. Go through all the details of the race exactly how you remember them and write down what you struggled with and what worked well, along with all the race data. You can use the information for strategy and planning for future training and your next race. If you have a coach you would want to review the notes with your coach sometime during that week again while it’s fresh in your memory if you wait too long you won’t remember these things.
Active Recovery – Another option is to do a little active recovery. That means training for 1 hour or less at a very aerobic pace, with low heart rate. Some examples:
– a 45- minute easy spin at 90 rpms with HR under 120.
– A yoga class or some mediation and breath work
– 45- minute swim with fins
– 30-45 min low heart rate run and 15 min stretch and foam roll session
Massage – Heat and Ice bath- getting a post- race massage can really help speed the time of recovery along with sauna/ hot plunge and cold plunges. All this just helps to improve circulation and move the lactic acid out of the muscles so you can get back to regular training without feeling the fatigue in your body from the race.
The mistake I see a lot of athletes make is going right into a hard training session the day after a race and by the end of that same week they are exhausted or sick because race day can be very taxing on the body if you don’t allow one or two days of easy training to ease back into your routine you can end up getting sick or really tired by the end of the week. So even though you may have tapered or gone easy the entire week before the race I still recommend taking one or two days very easy after the race and by the end of the week get back into your training program.
Nutrition – The last thing to consider post race is a good nutrition plan. Hopefully, you rewarded yourself somewhat after the race with a treat that you would not normally eat – like ice cream or pizza. If you are working on your power to weight ratio sticking to your nutrition plan post race can really help you get a big jump on your calorie deficit because you burn so many calories on race day. If you continue to eat healthy that day you will feel so much better the next day. I also really believe in a special reward for race performance, so if you’re craving that pizza or beer or some kind of celebratory food, that’s the day to do it. It’s always your choice.
Then, the next day after the race get back on your nutrition plan of clean eating and drinking tons of water to recover and it will help make you feel so much better going back into your training program.
I hope this article helps you in some way!
Feel free to ask me any questions or leave a comment.
Wishing you well,
Full Circle Coaching
Where Performance Meets Balance