Crossing the finish line after you have competed in a triathlon race is a feeling like no other. As you run those last few meters toward the finish line, months of rigorous training and personal sacrifices amount to an awesome moment that you will always remember.
But regardless of your post-race plans, you must allow your mind and body efficient time to recuperate and recover. As a specialist in massage therapy like some of our friends at Lotus Wellness Center can explain, this resting process relieves the physical, emotional, and mental stresses that training puts on you. However, this process also requires a healthy amount of patience that doesn’t come naturally to all competitive athletes.
Here are a few insider tips to help jumpstart your resting and recovery process.
Rehydrate and Refuel
No matter how much you fuel and hydrate during training and during the race, you can count on being dehydrated and having depleted glycogen levels by the time you reach the finish line. Once you finish the race, keep moving, but slowly. Cool off, and head straight to the food tent. Ingest fluids with sodium, low-fiber carbs, and some protein.
Don’t panic if your appetite is suppressed. This is a common occurrence after a race and is most likely due to dehydration, fueling issues, or heat exhaustion. If you do not feel hungry right away, don’t force yourself to eat. Instead, focus on hydration and consuming electrolytes. Over the next day or two, eat slowly, and consume smaller, more frequent meals and snacks.
It’s normal to consume a fair amount of caffeine during race day, making your cortisol levels higher and contributing to post-race insomnia. To make the issue worse, a higher heart rate, dehydration, and an elevated body temperature can make for a restless night. Bring your body temperature down with a cold shower, wet towels, and proper hydration. Turn your AC on to help you sleep more comfortably too. Prioritize napping for a couple of days after the race and reduce your caffeine intake until you can sleep well again.
Massage and Self-Care
A couple days after completing your triathlon race, visit a local massage parlor. Massage can help to boost blood and lymph flow to aide in eliminating toxins and waste from your body. It will also calm your mind and totally relax you.
After you cross that finish line, light movement is the best thing that you can do during your recovery period. Take a relaxing dip in a pool to help facilitate lymph drainage or enjoy short, easy walks to offset the delayed onset muscle soreness that will occur during the days following your race.
It’s important to take the proper amount of time to recover. Triathlons and triathlon training demand a lot from your body and mind. In order to be in peak condition for your next race, you need to help your body heal. Rest and care is the only way to ensure this happens.