What Happens After an Ultramarathon?

I felt so fine right after I finished running an ultramarathon. In fact, I walked and could even go up and down the stairs (without limping) like as if I didn’t run quite a long distance one weekend.

Not been into running like what I used to. Well, except for a slow 6.5K, just two days after the race. That was it. Last month’s mileage was only that distance. I didn’t even register for any race. Running a 5K or a 10K seemed to be so easy. If you’ve been running a 21K or a 25K per night, not as a race, but as part of your training program, then you would understand what I’m trying to say.
What I’ve experienced, I don’t consider as burnout as I still love to run. I believe it’s my body’s way of telling me, “Hey, I deserve to rest after working so hard.”
What I have been up to lately? Living like a normal being. Getting enough rest and sleep. A rare treat for me. Why? Well, my weeks for the past years, since I’ve been addicted to running, were normally about running, running, running, and racing.
Been swimming though as cross training. But no matter how much I like to swim, running is still what I love to do. And so, right before writing this post, I decided to run around Bonifacio High Street. And I was glad to have reached at least 10K.
How long really is recovery time? In my opinion, it depends really. Some runners can recover quickly that they’re off to another race again. For some it takes time. Others would even hibernate for a while. I came across a site on Ultramarathon 101. Some of the tips posted are interesting.
Here’s a sample with my comments: Recovery from the Big Race (Source: http://www.wny-ultra.org)
~ If your legs are sore (i.e., it hurts to run), then don’t resume running until you are pretty much free of pain. Typically this takes 3-4 days if you have, for instance, trashed your quads. – I ran after two days. I could walk with no limping, no soreness at all.
~ While your legs hurt, do something else for active recovery. Walk if you can do that with tolerable pain or ride a bike. Avoid impact exercise until the legs stop hurting. – Even if it didn’t hurt, I took a swim for active recovery. I could swim more than a kilometer with no rest. I tell you, I was even surprised of myself.


~ When you can resume running, go easy and give your body a chance to repair any lingering damage. – Yeah, it was an easy run for me that I even employed walk breaks.

~ As you resume training, you should find your short runs will feel good within a week or two at most. You may even be able to run a decent 5K after two weeks recovery. – I didn’t run for a month. I rested.

~ If you try a long run only a couple weeks after a hard ultra, you will probably feel very tired and sluggish after 10-15 miles. I have found my endurance comes back slower after an ultra than my short race speed (what little speed I have, anyway). It usually takes about 4 weeks before a long run feels comfortable to do. – I agree.

~Allow 3-6 months between ultras to 1) adequately recover, and 2) adequately train for the next race. The longer the race and the harder the effort, the longer the gap between races should be for optimal performance. – Correct! But most of the ultra distance runners I know don’t wait for three to six months. After a week or so, they’re off running (and racing) again. Hmm… what kind of runners are they?