Recovery After a 10k Race?

by Jess J.
(Cebu City, Philippines)

what to do after a 10k race
What exactly do I do after following a "2 month" 10k intermediate program? Should I take the week off? Continue to run and do some cross-training? I am a 41 year old male.

Answer by Dominique:

Hi there,
First of all, well done on completing your 10k. I hope it went well. And thanks for reaching out with your question regarding post-training follow-ups for a 10k program. Let's tackle it step by step:

1. Recovery for physical reasons
2. Recovery for mental reasons
3. Targeting your next goal

Recovery for Physical Reasons

what to do after a 10k race
Assuming that you've only just completed a 10k race after your 2-month intermediate program, the first thing you need to consider is recovery. The 10k is a tough racing distance and should not be underestimated.

I'd recommend 3-5 days of not running at all. Allow your body to heal from the strain. It's a good idea to do a bit of walking or gentle cycling the days after the run. That little bit of activity can get the blood flowing and it helps keep your muscles relaxed and flexible, while letting them recover from the stress of the race.
Once you're feeling up to it -and this could be sooner than you think- you can ease yourself back into some running.

However, not before we talk about the mental aspects...

Recovery for Mental Reasons

what to do after a 10k race
Now let's talk about the mental aspects. You have just spent eight weeks of strenuous workouts. After a big race and moreover, a training campaign, your mind needs a breather as much as your body does, if not more.

It would be a mistake to just settle back into hard workouts immediately. Maintaining a running program is tough and requiring your body to do multiple hard workouts is tough on body and mind.

So, take it easier for at least preferrably two. You can do some running, but keep it easy and light. Do some cross-training if you like. But don't force yourself back into hard workouts immediately.

You may be worried about losing fitness, but relax. Keep the longer term picture in mind. By taking it easy for a couple of weeks you may lose a bit of physical fitness. But you will gain a lot of mental fitness. Which then gets you ready for a new strenuous running program.

Targeting Your Next Goal

what to do after a 10k race
Rest and recovery is important, but so is discipline. It's all too easy for "I'll start getting serious about running again next week" to turn into "next month" or even "next year".

To keep your motivation up and to stay focused, I suggest setting a new running goal. Whether it’s another 10k, or even a half marathon or marathon, having a fresh goal to work towards can help get you back into gear and back focused on re-building your fitness.

What goal to pick? The world really is your oyster and it simply depends on what you are interested in. After a solid 10k training campaign, you'd be well positioned to take advantage of that fitness and train for a fast 5k. You could make the step up to the half marathon. Or you could stick with the 10k and try to improve upon your time of the race you have just completed.

So many choices. Have a think about what really interests you and go from there.

In summary, give that body and mind a well-deserved rest for 1-2 weeks without coming completely to a stand-still. Light running, walking, cross-training, do whatever you think is best. Then pick that new and exciting race goal and go for it with all your might! Here's wishing you the very best with the recovery and for your next race and every one after that!

Kind regards,

10k running tips

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