Well done, you’ve crossed the finish line of the big race. Months of training and preparation, early mornings, healthy eating, reading up on race technique, have all finally paid off.
If you’ve spent lots of time and effort preparing and training for a race that you forgot to think about post-race celebration, you might be a bit stumped for ideas.
Don’t worry, in this article, I’ll be exploring different ways you can celebrate after a race. The ideas have been gained from personal experiences, fellow runners, professional athlete friends, online research, reading, and some general thinking.
Why is it important to celebrate post-race?
You’ve put in lots of hard work to get this point as a race finisher. Celebrating is only right because it positively rewards you for your actions. By allowing yourself time to celebrate, you know you’ve done a good thing and your actions were worth it. Allowing time for celebration is not only necessary, but it’s also crucial to stay motivated and driven to keep doing something.
This applies massively to running. If you run a race with lots of hard work and determination, but don’t experience a sense of reward through celebration afterwards, it can be demotivating and make runners think about giving up.
It doesn’t matter if you ran the fastest race in the world, or if your form was perfect.
What matters is that you prepared well and ran the best race you could, all whilst experiencing the joy of running. If that’s not worthy of a celebration I don’t know what is!
The dangers of not allowing yourself to celebrate
Don’t be a tyrant and deprive yourself of a well-earned reward. Think of a time you’ve put lots of work into something but not been rewarded appropriately.
You put in extra hours at work but got no recognition from the boss, you cooked a decent meal for your partner, but they didn’t praise your efforts. You could even be a top performer in your class but receive little recognition from a teacher. I bet you felt underappreciated and demotivated to keep working hard in all these scenarios.
When we’re not rewarded for hard work, we lose heart and reconsider whether something is really for us. Don’t let this happen to your running life.
Whether you run a 5K, 10K, half or a full marathon, there will be a degree of training and preparation. It’s only right you reward yourself for your efforts and celebrate.
That way, you’ll know you’ve done a good thing and will be more likely to continue running in the future.
What ways can I celebrate after a race?
The celebration could be absolutely anything, and it really is down to personal preference. Whatever celebration you go for, make sure it’s something you enjoy and find pleasurable.
Some will enjoy going out with friends in a social setting, some like to go to a restaurant and eat their favourite meal, whilst other runners love the idea of playing their favourite video game for a few hours.
here are so many ways to celebrate, and different runners have different preferences for celebration after a race. If you need some inspiration for how to celebrate after the race, you’ve come to the right place.
Without further ado, here are 20 ways to celebrate after a race
1. Socialising with friends
It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, friends are hugely important in our lives. They’re there for us in times of need, offer advice and help, and act as trusty companions.
Hanging out with some friends after a race is a great way to relax and enjoy some good company. Go down to the pub, meet in town, invite some mates over or go for a walk as a group. After running all that way, you may be tired, but you’ll certainly be in a good place with such decent company.
After your race, meet up with some friends and let the good times roll.
2. Eating your favourite meal
In preparation for the race, you’ve been eating healthy and keeping an eye on calories. Now you’ve put in the hard work and completed the race, it’s time for a cheat meal. Eat your favourite meal after the race to celebrate your achievement.
Yes, eating what you want often means eating unhealthy and processed foods like kebab, fried chicken and pizza. However, celebratory times call for celebratory measures. Having just completed a race, it’s only right you reward yourself by indulging in what you enjoy.
You’ve got to have some fun right? My favourite post-race meal is either a McDonalds Big Mac meal or a K.F.C. lunchbox. Not the healthiest options, but we all have our guilty pleasures. What’s yours?
3. Watching a movie or going to the theatre
Who doesn’t like a good story? Going to the cinema to watch a movie, or to the theatre for a musical or play, are fantastic ways to reward yourself after putting the miles in.
In the week leading up to the race, browse what’s on in the local area and book what you’d like to go and see. Chances are you will forget about the booking mid-race (things can get desperate, particularly if you’re running a marathon), and be pleasantly surprised when you remember about the booking.
Go see a play or watch a movie after your race, reward your efforts.
4. Treating yourself to some new running gear
Running a race is a lot of hard work and requires determination and proper preparation. It’s a huge achievement, and it’s only right to celebrate. Some runners like the idea of celebrating with some treats, perfectly understandable.
What a perfect reason to treat yourself to some new running-related toys. As a runner, there are loads of things which you can get to enhance your game and add value to your training. Running watches, new shoes, tops, vests, and bone-conducting headphones are just a few of them.
A bonus of treating yourself to running gear is that it will encourage you to keep running after the race has finished. Unfortunately, some runners dwindle out of training and say goodbye to their running career after a race has ended because they have nothing to train for.
If you buy yourself new running gear, it’s only natural you’ll want to use it and get your money’s worth. Therefore, new running gear is a fantastic post-race celebration idea because it will reward you and motivate you to keep running.
For more information on running clothing & accessories, check out the following posts:
- 9 Reasons You Should Buy A Running GPS Watch
- 30 Great Fancy Dress Ideas For Runners
- 30 Great Gift Ideas For Runners
- Top 5 Men’s Running Shoes For 2018
- The Benefits Of Running Sunglasses
- Top 5 Brands For Running Shoes
5. Playing your favourite video game
For the gamers out there, playing your favourite video game for a few hours is the perfect reward post-race. Losing yourself in fictional worlds and characters can be great relaxation, whilst giving your brain and fingers a work-out. Yes, a hand-eye coordination workout!
Whether you’re on Xbox, PlayStation, PC or a Nintendo console, get a controller in your hand and play a favourite for a while.
Though I don’t play video games that much these days, I had a few favourites I liked playing after a race.
Fallout was, by far, my favourite game to play. It’s a first-person role-playing an open-world role-playing video game set in a post-nuclear world. The game has a post-apocalyptic and retro-futuristic setting, in the aftermath of a global nuclear war in an alternate history timeline mid-22nd century. Sounds a bit mad, I know, but losing yourself in a game like Fallout after the intensity of a race works wonders.
6. Playing a musical instrument
If you’re into music, why not play a musical instrument as a means of relaxing after a race?
Remember, running in a race like a 10K or a half-marathon is highly demanding. You have to be present, in the moment, 100% of the time and you need to focus on what you’re doing. Failure to concentrate could mean running into another runner or wandering into the path of traffic. Ouch!
Playing a musical instrument after a race is an incredibly fun and rewarding experience, and one of the greatest joys in life. Playing an instrument provides a powerful alternative to electronic entertainment, develops an appreciation for different musical styles (like classical), improves concentration, allows you to express creativity and helps you build confidence, to name a few benefits.
Because musical instruments allow you to express yourself in a unique and creative way, you could improvise and play how you feel after your race. Perhaps you’re in a sombre and relaxed mood after running race miles, so you could play a lullaby or ballad.
Whether you’re a drummer, a pianist, guitar player, blow the trombone or have a violin, get musical and let your inner musician out. It’s a great way to reward yourself after a race.
7. Going to see your favourite sport
Bring the energy of your post-race celebration to an exciting sports event. Everyone has a favourite sport. Some follow a football or rugby team whilst others prefer cricket or even a game of tennis.
People love following sports because they can get involved with the story as it unfolds, getting behind their team or sportsperson to cheer them on to victory.
As a brilliant post-race celebration, treat yourself to going to see your favourite sport. If you support Manchester United, then book a ticket to see them. When cricket’s your thing, book a ticket to a cricket game and cheer on your side.
Enjoy yourself and get into the spirit of the sport. Have fun and celebrate your post-race achievement.
8. Booking tickets to a concert
There’s something special about going to a concert to see your favourite band, singer or musician. Concerts are often one of the happiest times in life and are a perfect celebration.
Make a point of rewarding yourself after the race by booking a concert you will love. It’s one of the best celebrations in a runner’s book.
There’s a lot for people to disagree over and argue about in this world. From politics to sports, to history, to friendship falling outs and so on. It’s enough to make anyone feel down.
Concerts are different. During a concert, there’s always a huge amount of energy, and there’s a gathering of like-minded individuals all directing their attention to the stage, singing along to the lyrics and dance to the music. It’s as if everyone has a fixed purpose, and they’re part of a group. People love going to concerts because there is a sense of belongingness.
In addition to the positive energy and happy vibes, attending a concert is a magical moment because you get to see the people behind the tunes you love. Maybe it’s a musician you particularly admire, whose lyrics you think are magical.
For me, I’d love to see some of the following artists in concert: Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Tame Impala, Paul Weller, Laurence Jones.
Everyone likes different music, so make sure you book something you will enjoy. Don’t feel guilty about booking a concert ticket for yourself. You’ve worked hard by training and preparing for the race. It’s only right you should reward yourself.
9. Read a book
Immersing yourself in a good book has been one of our favourite past times for thousands of years. If you’re someone who takes great pleasure in reading, make sure your post-race activities include a good dose of reading.
When you start reading you learn about different aspects of life, explore strange new worlds, meet fantastic character creations, and gain perspective.
Whether you’re a fiction reader, or like learning new things in non-fiction books, there are millions of titles out there. There’s bound to be something to capture your imagination and entertain you.
I love picking up a book after the race is over. Not only can I picture the fictional worlds the authors write about in my head, but I also feel totally relaxed and take my mind off of the race. If the race was particularly long (half-marathon or marathon), it can be good to get your mind off the running for a few hours.
Reading a book is one of my favourite ways to do this because it requires all of your attention.
Good examples of my favourite fiction books include The Great Gatsby, Kite Runner, Pride and Prejudice, Great Expectations, Wuthering Heights, One Hundred Years of Solitude, and Moby Dick, to name a few.
10. Watch some videos on YouTube
This is the 21st Century, and YouTube has become a great source of entertainment for lots of people.
YouTube is an American video-sharing website, allowing all different types of videos to be uploaded to the site. Why not relax after your run by tuning into YouTube and entertaining yourself?
YouTube features such a huge array of content, there is bound to be something to entertain you. Whether you’re into cooking, music, sport, history, comedy, or even politics, there will be YouTube videos out there for you.
Some like to watch videos from their favourite YouTube uploaders. These are people with huge online followings, who use YouTube as a platform for their content.
Example of famous YouTube stars includes PewDiePie, Zoella and Terry Song (Terry TV).
There’re always new videos to watch and different topics to explore, making YouTube a post-run celebration of variety and interest. Have fun.
11. Sleep in a cosy bed and recharge your batteries
Okay, everybody loves a nice cosy bed. That’s obvious. However, nice cosy beds feel extra soft and cosy when you have just participated in a race.
The feeling you get when you hit the pillow after a marathon is indescribable. Sleeping is meant for body rest and recovery. Sleeping after a race, though, takes the comfort and relaxation to a whole new level.
Don’t feel guilty about getting into bed after a race. It’s a nice and comforting reward after all the hard work. To make it extra cosy, get lots of pillows and a soft duvet cover.
Preparing this the night before the race means you will be organised and have something to look forward to when you finally hit the hay. Good night sleep tight.
12. Go travelling
Travelling is fundamental to humans. It expands our perspective on life, allows us to explore the world, and helps us to learn about other cultures.
If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you could reward yourself with a travelling trip. This could be across the country to a city, it could be a short weekend break to a European city, or it could even be a trip to somewhere further afield like the U.S.A. or Asia.
If there’s somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit, book the trip as a reward for yourself after you complete an upcoming race.
This is quite a big treat, so make sure you save it for long and difficult races that require months of preparation and training. That way, the travelling adventure will feel well deserved. Happy travelling!
13. Take a long walk and reflect
Okay, this might seem crazy to you after a race. Especially if you’ve run a long way or have been running on a difficult trail course.
Your legs feel like jelly and this idea sounds totally absurd. All good points to make because I know how it feels after a marathon. However, a long walk is a fantastic way to clear your head and reflect.
Walk through your town, a nature reserve, by the beach or with a friend. Choose a path and walk it. You don’t have to just think about your race day achievement, you could also use the walk to think about other areas of life like your relationships or career.
A long walk is a simple, free and effective way to relax and reward yourself after a race. Give it a try, your legs will be able to cope. I promise.
14. Take a hot bath or shower
If you ask most people to give them a description of relaxation, they will mention having a hot bath or shower. Having a nice hot bath, or shower, after a race is a perfect way to get yourself cleaned up and relax.
When you have a hot bath, your body temperature rises and your blood circulation and metabolism increase, whilst your body detoxifies itself quicker. As a result, you feel calm and incredibly relaxed. No wonder people smile at the thought of a long, hot bath after a long day at work.
Get the hot water and bubbles flowing. Time to relax with a hot bath after your race. You’ve earned it!
15. Listen to your favourite music
It’s no secret that music is good for the soul. If you’re having a down day or need a lift, putting your favourite artist on for a few minutes can turn that frown upside down. For this reason, music is the perfect post-run reward to relax.
The key word here is ‘your favourite.’ Remember, everybody has different tastes in music so make sure you listen to tunes you enjoy. Whether you like classic rock, metal, pop, rap, psychedelic rock, rhythm and blues or ska, listen to music that will relax and reward your running efforts.
16. Play a game
I’m not talking about the kind of game the Jigsaw puppet likes to play in the Saw movies, I’m talking about a game you enjoy. It could be anything.
Get the family together and play a board game like Monopoly, Cluedo or Pictionary. If crosswords, word searches and sudoku is more your thing, do a challenging puzzle. Maybe you’re an app person, and you like playing Candy Crush or Angry Birds. We all have our favourite games. Whatever yours is, treat yourself after the race and play it for a while.
You’ll feel engaged, entertained, and most importantly you’ll feel rewarded for your hard work. The way it should be after a race.
17. Spend some quality time with your family
One of the best ways to celebrate after a race is to spend quality time with your family. Yes, this is a simple way to celebrate but it is highly effective.
When we’re younger we often take our family for granted. Though they help shape us and influence our decisions as we grow up, we often fail to recognise how important they are and forget to tell them how much we love them.
It’s only when we’re older we realise how special our family are to us, and how much we love them. By the time this happens, we’re either at university or working in a full-time job, and maybe raising a family of our own. As a result, it’s difficult to find some time for quality interaction with family members. It’s the tragic but true cycle of life.
As Russel Howard would say on his Good News show, ‘it’s not all doom and gloom!’
There are occasions where we make time for the family. Christmas day is often spent with family, Sunday is traditionally a family day, perhaps your sibling or cousin got married and everyone got together for the occasion. Days with the family often stick in our mind and we remember them for life.
Make a special occasion of race day and invite your family out for a meal or around your house for dinner in the late afternoon or early evening.
Whilst the race will be inevitably mentioned, don’t just focus on your gallant efforts. Speak to the family and ask how they’re doing, interact with people you’re not as close with anymore, make some unforgettable memories.
A celebration is always better with family. Spending quality time with your family is one of the best ways to celebrate after a race.
18. Play with your pets
If you’re lucky enough to have a pet, playing with them after a race is perfect relaxation. You might think this is an odd way to celebrate completing a run, but it’s quite the contrary. Pets reduce stress and make us happier.
Stroking a pet, like a dog or a cat, can lower blood pressure and make you feel at ease. Studies have shown that playing with a pet increases the feel-good chemicals in the brain, like serotonin and dopamine. Race day can be stressful and hugely demanding, which is why some chilled relaxation time afterwards is just what the doctor ordered.
Whoever thought that playing with Felix the cat, or Buster the dog could be a form of celebration after your race?
This is particularly effective if you live alone and don’t have friends or family to engage with after the race.
Playing with a pet will make you feel less lonely and happier after the big race is over.
19. Write about your running experience
You might think I’m a bit mad for this suggestion, but there’s a lot of value in writing about your running experience.
Write down how you felt before, during and after the race.
If you did better or worse than expected, write it down. Maybe you experienced the wall on mile 12, but you pushed through it anyway. If there was a generous bystander giving out sweets, write about how they made you feel when you were incredibly desperate and drained of energy.
Tell the story of your race to celebrate the fact it happened, and you experienced it.
Research suggestions writing is good for stimulating the mind, maintaining mental health, makes you less stressed, and strengthens your imagination and creativity. That really is a powerhouse in writing about your race experience. You can write any way you like. If you’re traditional then get a pen and paper.
Maybe you like jotting your thoughts down on a mobile phone note. Perhaps you like to write about your experiences on a social media site, like Facebook or Instagram. Reflecting on your race is good for getting thoughts out of your head and is a great way to celebrate your achievement.
Wherever you write about your running experience, make the writing a celebration of the race.
Who knows, maybe your kids or your grand-kids will reflect on the writing one day? What an amazing treasure to reflect upon with future family members. A written account of your thoughts and feelings on an important day in your life.
20. Take a spa trip
There are so many reasons to treat yourself to a spa day after your race. Both your mind and body will benefit hugely from a trip to the spa. Never feel guilty for celebrating after your race with a spa trip. Lots of runners, however, do unfortunately feel guilty.
‘Who am I to deserve a trip to the spa?’ is a common phrase runner often think or sometimes speak. You don’t have to feel guilty, a spa trip is a perfect way to celebrate after a race.
Your skin will be treated to a sugar or salt scrub, you’ll get time for quiet reflection, the atmosphere will be chilled, massage will stimulate blood flow, you’ll have access to a sauna, and feel much happier.
Taking the time to go to the spa signals you’ve done a good thing, and will motivate you to carry on running. Book a spa trip for the post-race celebration.
After you’ve celebrated, it’s time to start training again
Now you’ve taken time to celebrate, rewarding yourself for your race efforts, it’s time to get back into the running shoes.
Try not to stop running just because race day is over
Lots of runners often find their runs slowly disappearing after race day, because they have nothing to train for. If you love running, but worry this might happen to you, book another race for a month or two after completing the race you celebrated for. It’s fantastic motivation to keep your love of running alive.