When it comes to races as strenuous as ultramarathons, the recovery can often be more difficult and painful than the training. You don’t want to stop fitness altogether, but you don’t want to do too much so you can let your body rest and heal properly. If you’re feeling lost, here are some things to keep in mind:
Don’t go overboard, but a little bit of cardio will help keep blood flowing to the areas that need it and keep muscles warm so lactic acid doesn’t stick around and cause further pain.
Protein and carbs are really going to help restore some of your energy stores lost during an ultramarathon, so eat up. And in a time when your immune system is hampered a bit by the physical effort you’ve just exerted, it’s important to make sure you’re eating balanced meals to keep any sickness at bay.
Sleep. You’ll feel a lot better. Nothing’ll take care of the tiredness post-race like a good sleep. Post-race, account for a good nap and an extra long night of sleep.
Massage it Out
Whether you use a foam roller, lacrosse balls or actually get a sports massage, the targeted manual therapy is going to hurt so good. It’ll help you manage the muscle inflammation, keep the blood flowing and help with cramping. It can also help ensure your muscles heal properly and scar tissue doesn’t build up.
Keep it Cool
After a long run, your muscles are going to be pretty inflamed and likely cause some pain. Icing can help keep the inflammation down so you’ll start feeling better soon. But never put the ice directly on your skin unless you want a nice burn.
Warm it Up
Treat stiff muscles to heat, whether by heating pad or hot bath. But don’t heat inflamed muscles, since that’ll just make ‘em worse.
Stretch it Out
Your body is going to feel pretty tight for a little while, so combat it with some targeted stretches. Don’t force it though, or you might find yourself in a whole new world of pain. Ease into it and stretch often.