This Fall was loaded with big fat PRs for many Salties and Salty readers (woot woot!!). Others of us missed that PR, were stopped short by injury or had our goal race cancelled (bummer!). But one thing is universal: we all worked hard and shed some serious blood, sweat and tears all in the name of nailing our Fall races and being the best competitors we could be. We logged hundreds of miles, sacrificed nights out with friends and lost count of how many times we awoke long before sunrise to train before work.
As the Fall racing season is quickly winding down, thoughts of goals and races for 2013 are beginning to swirl in all of our heads. If you’re like Thyme or Cilantro and have yet to run your fall A race, you might want to wait a couple of weeks to read this post. Oh, and Salty, maybe replace the word ‘race’ with ‘birth’ and read it after that baby pops out!
Before we get too ahead of ourselves, we all should take a moment to treat ourselves to a little post-race indulgence. Hey, if our friends on NBC’s Parks and Recreation can set aside one day for indulgence, so should we! We’ve certainly earned it and we Salties know how to enjoy some indulgence! Today I present my favorite post-race indulgences and the reasons why I love them.
1. Pure Pampering: What better way to treat your body than a massage, or rather massahhhhhge? A massage is a great post-race treat because it will promote circulation to tired muscles and will help flush out all of the soreness and other “stuff” lurking in our muscles, post-race. It may hurt a little, but be sure to tell your massage therapist about your recent hard effort, and s/he will know how to make you feel relaxed while assisting in the recovery process. A dark room, soothing music and aromatherapy may even lead to an enjoyable, well-deserved nap!
If a massage isn’t your thing, what a about a mani, pedi or both?! There is just something about pretty, manicured nails that makes a gal feel great. Getting a manicure is time-consuming and tough to fit into a busy life and training schedule, but now that we have found a few more hours in our day, why not treat ourselves to a little pampering? Plus, those tired, worn-out piggies could use a little TLC. And, yes, the pedicurist will even touch your post race busted feet!
2. Food, Glorious Food: Perhaps you have followed a certain diet and have restricted certain foods or favorite dishes throughout your training? It’s been awhile since you’ve had a plate of French fries or a piece of cheesecake. You are craving Mom’s homemade apple pie. You haven’t been to your favorite restaurant in a long time, or maybe you’ve been antsy to try a new one that’s opened up recently. Go ahead, indulge a little and enjoy every bite. It will be one of the best tasting meals or snacks you’ve had in awhile! Take it from Sassy, post-run chocolate, especially after a HUGE PR is the best chocolate ever!
3. Rest: As one of my Ironman friends says, rest is “the legal steroid.” So true. Even though we all know our rest is so important, most of us having difficulty embracing it during training. But we can’t neglect it once the race is over because it really is essential. We have pushed our bodies out of our comfort zone and forced ourselves to hurt like mad over many miles. Post-run soreness usually goes away after a few days, but it’s that deep muscle fatigue and electrolyte depletion that takes much longer to repair. There’s no need to rush the post-race recovery process, and now is a great time to redirect that time and energy spent on training towards sleep and relaxing activities. Sleep in, dive into a motivational running book, start that scrapbooking project, or visit a nearby nature trail and go for a walk. Embrace that couch you paid too much for and shunned for the past 12 weeks! Your body and mind will thank you.
4. Drink Up: After a hard race, I love an icy cold Coke. I have done well over the past 18 months eliminating caffeine from my diet (with the exception of rum and diet, which is my drink of choice), but there is something about a sugary, bubbly Coke that just sounds heavenly once I’m finished. In fact, after Ironman and my half Ironmans, I’ve been known to chug one or two 20 oz. bottles of that stuff in record time (much to Mayor Bloomberg’s disapproval). The instant sugar and caffeine adds a welcome jolt to my system. Whether it is alcohol, soda, or coffee, we tend to cut way back during training, so why not reward yourself with your favorite ‘juice?’
5. A Little Shopping Spree: You’ve been putting off buying that cute sweater or pair of black boots for awhile because you’re not really sure you need either. That cute pink winter running jacket displayed at your local running store has been enticing you, and you are tempted to try that push-up sports bra from the VSX line. Treat yourself after a long, hard-fought effort! And if you need more convincing, consider it an early holiday gift to yourself.
After all of the hours of hard training (and sometimes frustration and pain), we deserve to give back to ourselves as a reward for setting our race goals, sticking with our training plans and executing our races – no matter the outcome. Enjoy. Relax. Indulge. Another training cycle is in the near future……
What are your favorite post-race indulgences?