It’s easy to overlook rest and recovery when you’re training for an endurance event, below we’re going to cover some recovery basics for Ultra marathons.
Prioritising harder sessions which you may think are more beneficial to your overall fitness and performance. When we engage in intense physical activity, such as a long run, our muscles undergo a significant amount of stress and strain. If we don’t allow our bodies enough time for rest and recovery, we risk overtraining, injury, and decreased performance.
On the other hand, if we prioritise recovery, we give our bodies the chance to repair and rebuild, which leads to improved performance, increased muscle strength and endurance, and a lower risk of injury. So, how can you optimise your recovery after a long run?
Hydration is crucial during exercise to keep you going. It is just as important for recovery after a long run or bike ride. During exercise, our bodies lose fluids and electrolytes through sweat, and it’s important to replace these to prevent dehydration. Aim to drink at least 500mL – 1L within the first hour after your run or ride, and continue to drink throughout the day to ensure proper hydration. You can help replenish those lost electrolytes by drinking a sports drink or adding a hydro-tab to your bottle.
What you eat after a long run can also have a big impact on your recovery. Consuming a balanced meal or snack rich in protein and carbohydrates within the first hour after your run or ride can help to kickstart the recovery process. Protein is essential for muscle repair and rebuilding, good sources of protein include chicken, fish, tofu, beans, and nuts. Check out our guide to mastering nutrition and timing for further info HERE
Carbohydrates are also important for recovery, as they help to replenish glycogen stores which is a type of carbohydrate that is stored in the liver and muscles and is the primary fuel source for intense exercise. During a long run or bike, glycogen stores become depleted, which can lead to fatigue and decreased performance. Aim to consume adequate amounts of carbohydrates within the first few hours after your run or ride. This can be in the form of a meal or snack, such as a bowl of oatmeal with fruit and nuts, or a smoothie made with banana, berries, and protein powder.
Foam rolling and stretching
Using a foam roller and performing some dynamic stretches can also help to optimise recovery after a long run or bike. Foam rolling can help to loosen tight muscles and reduce soreness, while stretching can improve range of motion and flexibility. Both of these activities can help to improve circulation and promote muscle recovery.
Rest and sleep
Getting plenty of rest and sleep is crucial for recovery. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night, and consider taking a nap or getting some extra rest on the days following a long run or bike. Sleep is when the body does much of its repair and rebuilding work, so it’s important to give your body the time and space it needs to recover.
While it’s important to rest and allow your body time to recover, it’s also beneficial to engage in low-intensity activities on your recovery days. Activities like walking, light cycling, or even a leisurely swim can help to improve circulation and flush out waste products from the muscles. This can help to reduce soreness and fatigue and set you up for success in your events.
Recovery is just as important as consistent training to improve performance and reach your goals. By incorporating these key methods you can optimise recovery after intense physical activity and they can aid in reducing soreness and fatigue, allowing you to perform at your best.
Remember, recovery is essential in any athlete’s program, and it should not be underestimated. Ensure these tips are in your program when you sign up to the trails