You've crossed the finish line and the 10K is behind you. You're done with all this foolishness and it's time to grab a cold drink and crash out on the couch for a day to bask in your accomplishment.
Proper recovery after a race is just as important as your pre-race preparation. Failure to properly recover can result in pain, cramps, dehydration, and possible injury. The unexpected part? Proper recovery begins before you toe the starting line.
Before the Race
Plan for what will happen after the race. You aren't going to drop dead as you cross the finish, no matter how much it may feel like it, so thinking ahead is important. Eat well the night before to fuel you while you're out on the course and help your muscles start repairing themselves once you're done.
Wearing the right equipment is also important. Race day is not the time to try out your brand new gear. If you try to break something in during a 10K, you may compromise your recovery with blisters and chafing.
The biggest theme is hydration. If you are well-hydrated before the race, then you will be ahead of the game after the race.
And, of course, pre-race fitness will play into how well you recover. If you've never run 10K before, then your recovery will be longer and harder than that of a person who regularly runs more than 6 miles. Expect that.