I have to tell you, I could probably write multiple blog posts just on Q & A alone since so many folks have had questions regarding my 100 mile race not too long ago. It was an incredible (and long) journey, but I am so glad to say I have survived to talk to you about it! Someone said it perfectly when they said that to run 100 miles is to live a lifetime in a day. (and then some). It is truly something I will remember for the rest of my life. Here are a few ways I have bounced back from this crazy awesome race distance and some ways to recover and get back out on those roads (or on the dirt path).
1. Motion is lotion! This is kind of my favorite saying right now. Honestly, the movement shouldn’t stop once you cross that finish line. I know, you will want to find the nearest chair or stretcher…haha possible but to keep the blood flow going you must move that body. I could barely walk to the car but I made sure to make my legs move around a bit right after I got finished. The more you are able to at least walk a bit the better your body will feel.
2. Hydration is still important. Sure you have been eating and consuming liquids throughout the race. So much so that you actually get TIRED of it. But make sure you replenish your body post race. Especially with electrolytes. Honestly I would consume wine, beer etc in extreme moderation for at least a day or so. 100 miles can really beat you up and deplete you and the last thing really I wanted was alcohol. I thought that would be quite the opposite (I was craving wine actually when I finished my 50 miler). But yes, water…NUUN or Gatorade, all of these things will help you recover faster.
3. It will be hard to get comfortable when you go to bed that night. My body was shaking, my feet were swollen and so fatigued, it was unlike any type of post race feeling I’ve ever felt before. I personally did not do an ice bath, etc I just let my body recover naturally and the muscles just rest on their own. Compression may help but elevate your feet and just let things rinse themselves out. After that first night post 100 miler, my body pretty much slowly got back to normal. Sore but the same ole same. So…get through the rough 1st night and you will be good.
4. Don’t feel bad about eating ALL of the foods. Chances are it will be crazy hard to replenish all of the ridiculous amount of calories you burned during the 100 miler. But if you’re hungry (RUNger…the struggle is real) eat whatever it is you are craving. I don’t like sweets as much as I used to when I was younger but I crave all of the salty foods. A burger (my meal of choice post race), sushi, a loaded salad with a ton of pickles…haha YUM. Try to get some wholesome foods back in you though but some that are satisfying and will fill you up. Protein, veggies, avocado etc.
5. And remember, recovery looks different for everyone. If you are a seasoned marathoner that also has a few ultras under your belt like myself, recovery will be a lot easier for you. It all depends on the person’s body and ability to bounce back. Just be sure to listen to your body and what it is telling you. I’ve gotten really good at knowing when to push and when to pull back. But this is from years of patience, experience and training. It’s all a balancing act.
Ultrarunners, what are some ways you have recovered from a 100 mile race?