In this final installment of our three part series on running ultra mararthons, Suunto ambassador and champion ultra runner Ryan Sandes shares his tips for recovery.
Many ultra runners have got a personality-type that drives them to go from one race to the next, from one training cycle to another, but after two years they get completely burned out. Even if you feel on top of the world after finishing a big race, and want to get straight back into training, your body and legs need plenty of time to recover. Follow these post-race tips to ensure you have a full recovery.
Recovery tips for the day after the race
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day and add some electrolytes to it. Eat lots of healthy whole foods – rich in protein and good fats – to help your body recover.
- Go for any easy run to get your legs moving and to flush out the lactic acid.
- Relax in a sauna or have a hot bath, as the heat will loosen up your tight muscles.
- Most importantly, allow yourself to mentally switch off and celebrate your achievement. Have a few drinks and let it all go as this is important for recovery.
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Recovery three days to a week after the race
- I would suggest doing no running for the week after the race because your mind and body will need a break. If you start to feel edgy, go for a hike or cross train, but don't run.
- Keep eating healthy as your body is still in recovery mode.
- Get a massage or two and spend more time in the sauna or hot tub.
- Do some mobility and stretching work.
Recovery a fortnight to a month after the race
- After a week of no running, the second week you can start running again, but take it very easy. I would suggest not doing any hard sessions for at least three to four weeks after your race.
- I find doing some barefoot running with a few drills and some plyometric exercises for 20 to 30 minutes on a grass field really helps my legs bounce back.
- Pool running is a really gentle activity to aid recovery and help your body get moving again.
- For three days to a week after the race you can eat as much as you want, but after that don't overeat as you don't want to put on unnecessary weight.