Your Race-Day Running Guide


Run a Classy Cooldown

Some people think it's rude to finish a race, collect your medal, and then jog back along the course as other runners continue to stream in. But it all depends on how you do it. If you double back in a cocky way, barely acknowledging the runners still out there... yeah, that's a little rude.

On the other hand, if you jog back, hooting and hollering for those still on the course, encouraging them to keep it up, well, that puts the "cool" in cooldown.

Give an Appropriate Post-race Hug

For how long may you embrace someone after you've finished a race, without things getting weird?

Baseline Duration 3 seconds

If the hugger personally knows the huggee: + 2 seconds
If the hugger and the huggee are strangers: - 1 second
If both parties are sweaty: + 1 second
If the hugger is male and the huggee is female: - 1 second
If the hugger is female and the huggee is male: + 1 second
If the hugger and the huggee are a couple: + 3 to 5 seconds
If the hugger and the huggee are a couple, but their spouses are nearby: - 2.5 seconds

More: Post-Run Yoga Routine to Restore Your Legs

Use Your Space Blanket

Volunteers at most large races offer finishers a Mylar "space blanket" after they finish. These blankets don't look like they offer much warmth. And they don't! Still, they're better than nothing. Here's how to wear them:

Sundress Style

A variation on the skirt style. You simply wrap the blanket around your body, under your arms. Useful for changing your shorts. Skirt style Less common, but more stylish. A good option if your torso is relatively warm but your legs are freezing. Or if you've had an, um, accident. (It happens.)

Cape Style

By far the most popular method, you simply drape it over your shoulders, then pull it together in the front with one or both hands.

Turban Style

We've never actually seen this in real life. But it sounds interesting, doesn't it?

Clean Up (A Bit)

It's possible to wash up fairly well after a race, even if no showers or sinks are available. You may not achieve Brunch at the Ritz cleanliness, but you'll at least reach Coffee and Grand Slam at Denny's standards.

Here's how: Standing behind an open car door for privacy, wrap your space blanket around your waist. Remove shoes, socks, shorts, or pants. Wipe away sweat and salt with a wash cloth or baby wipe, and dry yourself with another cloth. Put on dry clothes, stuffing your wet race gear in a plastic back. Pile into the car and head out for well-earned pancakes and eggs.

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