Depending on your commitment level, racing season means travel. Whether you sign up for a race for its fast course (i.e., to qualify for Boston or earn a coveted PR), for the sheer beauty of the destination or for its historical significance, once you cross the finish line use it as an excuse to decompress and reward yourself (and your family) with a mini vacation.
Here are a few ideas for turning your race destination into a relaxing getaway:
Booking a massage at your hotel or a reputable day spa might be the first order of business. Carving out a morning or entire day for a post-race massage, scrub or pedicure is a great way to celebrate the end of your race and maybe even speed up your recovery. If that’s too much of a splurge, just allow yourself to sleep in, enjoy your coffee and the satisfaction you’ve earned this time of respite and recovery. The most important thing is you are giving your body and mind the break it deserves from the months of rigorous training.
TAKE A TOUR
After you cross that finish line, hop aboard a bus, do a casual city bike tour or join a local brewery or restaurant tour for the opportunity to soak in your surroundings and experience the sights, sounds and unique character of your destination. One of the many reasons races in Chicago, D.C., Philadelphia, Paris, London and Boston are so popular is because of their cultural and historical significance. If you’re planning museum tours, order tickets in advance to avoid standing around in long lines.
GET OUT IN NATURE
If your race is close to hiking or walking paths, search popular routes on MapMyRun and take advantage of your natural surroundings. You may still be sore, but light movement is great for your muscles the day after a long race. If you’re near the ocean, enjoy a long walk on the beach or a dip in the water. Rent paddleboards or kayaks for some adventure and relaxation. Post-race really is the time for you to stop, smell the roses and do all of those things you didn’t have time to do when you were training.
CATCH A LOCAL SPORTING EVENT
You’ve run your race and participated in your favorite sport, but is there a local team with a game taking place nearby? If so, purchase tickets and root for the hometown team. It’s another way to get swept away with your race destination and meet some local fans who will love that you’re there supporting their team.
You likely spent the last several months meticulously planning your workouts and race logistics. Your post-race mini-vacation is a perfect way to hand over the reins to your family and allow them to pick some post-race activities. Museums, movies and theme park destinations are ideal for kids, which is why many races take place in family-friendly locales. What a change of pace to finally say you’re simply “along for the ride” for fun!