Last week, I wrote a blog post about the difference between running and racing and the factors that contribute to why you perform better on race day. The adrenaline, the cheering, the taper, the racing gear—it all has an effect and it is important to recognize race day is the time to put all the work you have done into play and show off what you have been working so hard for. These goals can vary from taking home the gold, running a personal best, or simply finishing a certain race distance.
To piggyback off of that blog post, it is important to recognize how much putting in such a hard effort has on you AFTER the race. One of my athletes has had a breakthrough lately and the week following a tremendous personal best, she has been plagued with fatigue, aches and pains, and not her best workouts. She wears her emotions on her sleeve and you can tell she was frustrated to come off such a high from running a PR with a series of lows.
I reminded her that she is going to be tired from running so hard. Your body can’t handle putting a 110% effort, day in and day out. She is tired because she worked hard, because she truly gave it everything she had and that is exactly what you need to do on race day.
After running a good race, I think it is really easy to be motivated and want to go longer on your runs and want to go faster in your workouts because you got a taste of what all the hard work has been for but you really need to manage the highs and lows running has and listen to your body. Coming off a good race, you need to remember your body does need rest, you do need to take the time to cool-down and stretch after, and you do need to stay on top of taking care of yourself and doing the same things that you did that led up to you feeling your best (sleep, nutrition, focus). If you have done the work, taking a few days easier will not hurt your fitness and allow you to come back the next race fresh.