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  • Writer's pictureULTRA LONDON

Your Ultra Run Recovery Guide



When you take on an ultra, you’re going to be running further and dealing with more varied terrain than most road runners are used to. As well as the risk of injury, ultras also demand your undivided focus for hours at a time, and that kind of focus can be exhausting.

Studies suggest that in the two weeks following an ultra run, a significant percentage of participants will suffer from an upper respiratory tract infection - so a sore throat, runny nose, a cough or a combination of all three.

But just because feeling unwell after an ultra is common, it doesn’t have to be inevitable. Take a look at our recovery guide for some tried-and-tested strategies to maximise your chances of escaping the aches and ailments that can slow down even the most dedicated ultra runner.

Prioritise your recovery

Our first tip is an obvious one - get as serious about post-race recovery as you are about running. Accept that recovery is a mandatory part of the process and it takes time - just like training for your big event. Some ultra runners advocate for total rest in the days following an ultra; others advise gentle movement or workouts such as walking, cycling or yoga. Whatever feels best for you - but you’ll need to be patient and listen to your body.

Elevate

Your legs have done more work than any other part of your body, so give them the post-event attention they deserve. Rest and elevate as soon as possible, or try some compression socks to reduce the risk of muscle damage and soreness. A warm bath with a scoop of Epsom salts will also work wonders, as will a session with a foam roller (check out our tips here).

Vitamins

Sometimes our natural diet needs a little boost, so stock up on supplements for the post-race period. Taking a daily dose of Vitamin C can help strengthen your immune system and make a dose of the sniffles less likely.


Nutrition

Many ultra runners will have their favourite recovery drink lined up to enjoy at the finish line followed by a nutritious meal a little later on. But good nutrition needs to continue in the days and weeks after your event. Aim for foods known to fight inflammation (tomatoes, fatty fish, nuts, fruits like blueberries and oranges and leafy greens) and avoid refined carbohydrates, red meat and sugary drinks.

Rest

Post-race, you’ll need the recommended 8 hours of sleep a night - or even more. Experts recommend aiming for 8-10 hours for two weeks following your ultra, and maximising your sleep quality by cutting down on caffeine and screens before bedtime.

When to run again?

There’s no simple answer to this one, although it’s essential to wait until any niggles or aches have disappeared. A good rule of thumb is waiting until you want to lace up and head out rather than feeling you should or could. We know running is addictive, but to make ultra running sustainable rather than a one-off achievement you need to respect your body. Remember, you’re not a machine!


Curious about ultra running? Find out more about Ultra London here.

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