My new post-race approach

If there’s one thing I’m good at when it comes to running, it’s mixing things up and taking chances. It’s funny, too, because I am not a risk taker by nature. Then again, how risky is it to chance things with running?

Nice to take the pressure off post race

So my latest experiment was to give myself permission to do whatever amount of swimming, biking and running I felt like last week following Iron Girl. No set plans or goals, with the one exception of my long run. The timing of this was perfect because it was my kids’ final week of summer, so I was able to enjoy my time with them without the pressure of fitting in x number of miles in any of the sports.

How did it all shake out? I got in two short swims (nothing longer than about 1,800), two sessions on the bike trainer and none outside, and ran five times, all in the range of four to seven miles, with the exception of the long run. Everything was at an easy pace.

The results? I felt really good for my Saturday long run. There could have been a million reasons for this, but I definitely think allowing my body this down time gave me nice fresh legs for that run. I’m also feeling good this week (with the exception of my slow “speed” session yesterday but that’s another issue) and enjoying the training.

For me, this approach worked really well. I enjoyed the little bit of activity I did do, but never felt guilt for not doing more. It also served as a mental break, which for me is important after races. I think I’ve found my new post-race plan, which is actually more of an unplan. I’ll be doing it all again in mid-September right after my next sprint tri.

How do you approach your first post-race week? Ever switch it up? 


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  1. says

    I like to switch it up too every now and then. Next weekend I’m running a half where I plan to do the same kind of thing the week after to let the body work out the kinks from the race but also rest and recover before moving on to that fall marathon.
    Britt @ Chicago Rinner Girl recently posted..Garmin SOS, againMy Profile

  2. Michele @ nycrunningmama says

    I have learned the hard way what happens to me if I don’t listen to my body the week after a race…too often I’m on such a high that I just want to keep pushing…not a recipe for success. Taking an easy week is what I learned works for me…no set mileage or even number of days of running…glad to hear you had such a great run on Saturday!!!
    Michele @ nycrunningmama recently posted..Hospital Packing ListMy Profile

  3. says

    To be honest, I usually do not even think about it. I just plug on with my training schedule but I should probably give myself a little break mentally and physically. I guess the break I allow myself depends on the race. I don’t give myself much of a break from 5 or 10K’s. I learned the hard way this spring that I need more of a break after marathon.
    Tia @ Arkansas Runner Mom recently posted..Confessions from a jogging stroller drop-outMy Profile

  4. says

    I had some lingering soreness from my recent training and this week decided to listen to my body and not my mind and took a few days off. The former Robin would have NEVER done this but I am thinking, like you, that I made the right decision because I had an amazing run yesterday. I loved reading that this approach is working for others as well.
    Robin recently posted..No Fashion Sense WhatsoeverMy Profile

  5. says

    It depends on the state of my legs. I they’re fine I just continue training for the next race. If not, I rest and run shorter recovery runs for a few days before hitting it full steam again.

  6. says

    I had a real roller coaster week last week. My intention was to take off after 70.3 but after 2 days I wanted to run a little. I just didn’t want to do my long run of 15 miles. As you know, I chucked it. :) Running reminds me of all my mechanical issues. They’re frustrating and mud in my giddy up but I’m thankful to be able to run.
    Coy recently posted..Life after 70.3My Profile

  7. says

    That sounds amazing. Given that I haven’t been able to do anything distances since…uhh…April due to injury I’m thinking that once I get my duff going again I’ll take the suggestion of my doc – recovery weeks should be based on time or just be unplugged to be effective. I need to remember I won’t die because Dailymile didn’t get an accurate “donut burning” recording.
    Sheila recently posted..True Confession Thursday: Did I Say That?My Profile

  8. says

    It’s funny because post race week, I’m usually all psyched up to run and get speed sessions in but the post POST race week, I feel like crap. Maybe a lack of recovery? Whatever, but I go with what my mind/body wants to do. If nothing is hurting, I run and take advantage of the spring in my step and desire to push myself.
    Joanne recently posted..FOFF Lobster Lovers SauceMy Profile

  9. says

    That’s awesome! Nice to have a long run feel so good. My first week post race is pretty much me doing nothing at all. I like my rest lol. I have no problems taking a week off after a race or in the middle of a trianing cycle. I always feel that it does more benefit then harm (for me anyway).
    Robin recently posted..Nice Surprise from BostonMy Profile

  10. Teresa says

    For me it depends on the intensity and length of the race. For short ones 5k, 10ks, etc. I like to run the next day to relieve that stiff soreness that can develop from the faster pace. The following week I continue on same schedule as before. For longer races, I take it easy. Soreness from muscle fatigue isnt something I can run off.

  11. says

    You really were in good shape to be able to do all of that! The recovery for me totally depends on how thrashed I am after a race. I guess I am like a lot of people in that I might not need a big physical break after a 5-10k, but I seem to need a lot of easy recovery after a full. Wish I had a pool closer! A half marathon could go either way. The last wasn’t such a big butt kicker, but the year before I needed to run only easy for about 2 weeks afterwards. It’s easy for me to shrug some things off as just a little niggle, but if I push it- it won’t stay that way for long.
    Raina recently posted..Don’t take yourself too seriouslyMy Profile

  12. says

    I tend to give myself permission to do (or not do) whatever I want in the first week or so post-race. The length of some of my recent events + the inadequacy of my training for them has equaled some rough recovery. After this past weekend’s race, my 3 mile run on Monday was quickly downsized to a 2-mile walk, and even that hurt.
    Kate recently posted..Incredible Journey: The Thunder Rolls 24-hr ARMy Profile

  13. says

    Depending on the length of the race, I usually take a couple of days off from from running but try to swim, do yoga, Barre, or cycle. I never plan it I just go with what my body wants. I think after following a training plan for xx amount of weeks, I’m sick of it and want unplanned fun.
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted..Zucchini MuffinsMy Profile

  14. says

    For triathlons I try to take a day off for every hour of racing as a rule of thumb. I’m still pretty new to endurance sports though so I’m still experimenting.

  15. says

    I usually take it easy post race for a week depending on how long the race distance was. If it is just a 5K or 10K I usually don’t do anything different. If use a 1/2 as a training run I don’t do anything different either. If I am racing a 1/2 then I might take an extra day or two for recovery. After a marathon I always take two full weeks off and do absolutely nothing.
    Tasha @ Healthy Diva recently posted..Running, running, running….My Profile

  16. says

    I agree with you. Going to Maine and racing there was a huge mental break for me. The few days off leading up to the race, then the few days after were just huge. This past week I have had nothing longer than a couple of hours and I’m chomping at the bit to get the meaty portion of the lead up to Ironman Arizona under way now.
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