Finishing your first race is a huge milestone for any runner. Every runner remembers their first, right? So all that training, all that wondering whether you could actually do it, is behind you, you’ve crossed the finish line and…now what? Regardless of whether you feel like you’re on cloud nine, or you wanted to die for the last mile, here are the 10 things you need to do after your first race.
1. Post on social media.
If there’s no photo on Instagram, did it really happen?
High five your fellow runners and the race volunteers. Enjoy your accomplishment and slap a big ol’ grin on your face.
3. Keep moving.
Walking and keeping the blood circulating in your legs is a good idea to aid your recovery.
4. Drink something!
Remember how you were dying of thirst in your last mile, and you skipped the last aid station to keep your pace? Grab some water after the finish line and sip on it as you keep moving with the crowd.
5. Eat Something!
While you’re replenishing lost fluids, it’s also a good idea to eat something, too. Ideally you want to eat something with carbs and protein within about 30 minutes of a hard exercise session. Hopefully, there will be something handed out after a race, but if not, think ahead and bring a protein bar, or grab some chocolate milk as soon as you can.
6. Stop to stretch.
By now you should feel if there’s any part of your body that feels abnormally tight, or a little painful. Stretch that area out and give yourself a little massage, and then start moving again.
7. Bling Bling!
Make sure your medal is clearly visible on the outside of your clothing as you go to meet your support team. That medal was hard-earned, so be proud!
8. Celebrate part 2!
Celebrate with your support team. More social media posting is definitely not overkill, either.
9. Warm Up!
Get into dry clothes, especially if it’s going to be a while before you can shower and change. Don’t forget to make sure your medal is still visible!
10. Rest and recovery.
When you get home, if you can handle it, try an ice bath, or even just icing your muscles to aid recovery. While you’re doing that, start planning your next race. I promise even if the first words out of your mouth as you finished, were, “Never again!” you’ll probably be like most runners, and this race will be the first of many for you.
Oh, and congratulations!