This week Reggae Marathon’s ‘Ask Dan’ answers the question, “What to do post race?:
“This is a bit of a loaded question with several aspects to, and a clock running on what “post-race” means. It is probably best to start as you cross the finish line and go from there. Here are some thoughts.
- Actually, this is a free bit of advice for the very end of your race (pre-post-race, if you will) and you will thank me later. No matter how your race has been and whether or not there has been some walking involved (a lot of my recent marathons have indeed included late race walking), RUN ACROSS THE LINE AND SMILE FOR THE CAMERAS. That’s it. Nobody will be able to tell that you didn’t look just like that from start to finish. You know how the thing goes: Shoes $150, Entry fee $95, Finish Photo – Priceless.
- So, right after you show the camera your pearly whites and some high knees, don’t actually stop. “But I just ran 26 miles”, you might say. True, but keep your legs moving. You CAN slow down, especially if you have just followed my first bit of advice, or if you really did run the whole way at a goodly pace. Just don’t stop still, or fling yourself onto the ground.
- You may not feel like scoffing down great quantities of food seconds after crossing the finish, but make sure you get some fluids into you, and at least a little bit of food. You need to get some protein going within about 30 minutes to start repairing the muscle you have been metabolizing in the later part of your event, especially if it has been the full or half marathon. Some say chocolate milk is ideal, but there are lots of things you can combine to get the same effect. Coconut water immediately post-race delivers things you will want, including water, digestible sugars and more complex carbohydrates, as well as significant amounts of amino acids and potassium.
- In general terms, if it is hot and sunny, look for some shade. If it is cold or wet, find a way to be warm and dry. You may be hot and sweaty from the work you just did, but that will change fast if you are in a bit of a cool wind. A lot of races will give runners a “space blanket” or similar – take it.
- While there is a big debate about enough hydration or too much, I can pretty much say that the average distance runner will be somewhat dehydrated at the end of the race even in moderate conditions. Electrolyte drinks of one sort or another are a good bet at first because you will get the fluid/water you need and not run the risk of diluting the natural salts you still have in your system – which can lead to hyponatremia. IMPORTANT ASIDEHow To Sell Beats Online Like A Pro
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>: There is a lot of debate these days in respect to “drinking when you are thirsty At the Reggae Marathon, you WILL have an opportunity to get hydration products at every mile in convenient plastic pouches. That means you will be able to actually get it down you and in some quantity, so consume fluids wisely.
- Continuing to move and paying attention to hydration/electrolyte replenishment can help with muscle cramps or spasms. Probably THE worst post-race muscle cramps I had happened at the Maui Marathon. Forgetting all of what I just said, when I realized there was a post-race massage tent right at the finish, I just waltzed right in and put my name on the list. Then, I sat down and waited (because I wasn’t the only one with that idea). It really wasn’t all that long, maybe 20 minutes, but by the time it was my turn, my calves were like rocks. They hurt. It took way longer than anyone was supposed to get on those massage tables before the supervisors thought I was good to go.
- Listen to your own body when you finish the race. The chance that you won’t want something wet is pretty slim. Some people find their stomach doesn’t like running all that much. Forcing food down because some blogger says you should can turn out badly. That said, eat when you can and look for the kinds of things that will replenish you and begin your recovery.
- The immediate post-race time/circumstance is hard to define. The whole thing will be very dependent on you and how you have run the particular race, as well as the conditions of the day. Was it your first Half or Full Marathon? Did you do it for the fun of it? (Yes, people do run marathons for fun!) Were you chasing a PB or a qualifying time for an event like Boston? Were you well prepared for your event, or just barely there with respect to training? All these things will influence your post-race situation and what you may most need.
- Once you have cleared the official finish area, post-race recovery and support features, you are on your own. I think that is where I will draw the line that defines “immediate post-race”.
Keep up your training over the next few weeks with the goal of beginning your taper a couple of weeks before December 3. Next week Dan provides more tips on how to minimize your recovery to maximize your enjoyment after the Reggae Marathon.
Until next time…
Reggae Marathon RunninGuy
(Note: Photo courtesy of Errol Anderson Photography)