I uploaded a youtube video about recovering the fastest possible from ultras. The five most important basic factors are training history, the preparation for the race itself are the 3 basic facets of lifestyle what is nutrition, hydration and sleep applied not only to constant living but the race itself and finally posture and movement form during life and posture and running form during running training and the race itself.
Even high level athletes – like olympic level runners and cyclist – do not work-out a lot as they understand that recovery is a crucial and obligatory factor for improvement. It can be as high as 10h a day for certain periods, but we do not see more than 2000h for a year. In reality it stays more likely around the 1000 hour mark. As an olympic preparation goes in a four year plan, It can be like 1200h + 1500h + 1000h + 750h. Also it is most likely showing non specific training hours. No athlete run 1000h a year as in case of a pro that would be like over 15.000km. Too much pounding. No, that 1000h of training is including cross training and strength and conditioning and so on.
This is all just to explain that in reality 1000hours is only 1/8th of the total hours of a year. So obviously the remaining 7760 hours have way more effects on your fitness than training itself. In case of a non-pro athlete, 500h a year can be plenty, even to be national champion or to be sponsored and to win races. 500hours is 1h20 a day what is 6 x 1h and a 3h20 long run.
The nutrition makes you healthy and lean. The hydration helps you to lubricate all your body and to detoxify. Sleep helps you to get rid of fatigue and to rejuvenate the body. Posture, form and breathing make you all constantly stronger all day long. Imprint bad habits and you will experience constant injuries and battling with pain throughout your entire life. On the contrary, when you live with discipline, you will experience life to its best like it was always anabolic. As Rich Froning says, there is no moment, that you cannot improve on some aspects of fitness ! It doesn’t always mean working out !
Then right now we talk about the week after the race itself. First of all, if you followed the first section, you would feel completely fine right after your race. Even if it was a 30miler or a 200miler.
One of the best and most effective options is water and most likely sea water. If you can spend an hour each day just wiggling around, doing light swimming and doing some underwater activities, after a week, you would be completely just epicly better. Well, understandably, outside of summer, that can be a swimming pool, jacuzzi or simply laying in warm bath water. Why not to add epsom salts and red wine to your bath water. Get some music on, close the eyes and chill…
In case of cross training, use only the cross word. Should not do any training for a week. Easy cycling, easy walking, easy swimming easy anything.
I am a foam roller. I have been rolling over 15years. Massage helps. It is part of my day. I recommend a foam roller even to people not training at all. It is easy. Pull it out, roll all the muscles. I mean, how easy it is. I roll multiple times a day. Why sit on the couch, when you can get down to the ground and roll and relax the hell out of your body. Not a lot. I roll out at least twice a day. It is just part of my daily lifestyle. I might even go on 5 to 10 times a day in certain cases. 10 times 3 minutes is nothing. Even 10 x 6minutes a day in case of a recovery week is nothing. Helps or not, it feels good. It is no effort and again, it feels good.
Here is my routine precisely. I eat, drink, sleep well. I go for a walk every day for 60 to 90minutes. When I am near a workout park, I do some dips, body weight squats, step ups, I stretch down all muscles. My tour contains 4 workouts stations where I can access urban workout tools. I might do some light swings on the parallel bars or the high bars. I for sure listen to podcasts ! I love it, not to push, not to rush and not to be in any hurry. Just chill. 6am, dark, headlights, all alone, no disturbance…
Every morning and evening I do a 5 movement yoga routine and foam rolling. That can be the 5 tibet rites or my go to base spinal routine…
No fuss. I have it dialed in. It works. I did the same recently after the 63km ultra, than after a 220km mountain race a couple of years ago.
What is take on this article ? Just enjoy yourself after the race. You are so super-compensated, that even if you did not do absolutely anything for 2 weeks after the race, you would not lose any fitness. I still though recommend to take care of mobility daily and to do some light micro-plyometrics, to not to lose tendon function !