Did you do the ÖtillÖ Hvar race this weekend, or about to do the upcoming Costa Brava Swimrun Race?
Regardless. If you finish, then your preparations were good enough. You fought through tough conditions and challenging elements and made it through the raw beautiful nature. Swimrun at its best. As it should be.
But what happens to your body and muscles after such a tough race?
After a race it’s important to let your body and muscles recover. Going at it again close to a challenging race can be devastating since its much easier to pull an injury. And that could be the end of the season.
Then how should you recover, which is the best way to do it?
Pizza, beer and a good rest
Apart from pizza and beer, some people prefer using anti-inflammatory medications, some take a cold body bath, others use massage, acetaminophen (paracetamol), compression garments or just rests. But is that the proper way to go?
Well, it’s actually what you do before the race which matters, as a study on ultra-runners have investigated. It turns out that the preparatory training is key for how the body recovers after a tough race, i.e. how the body recovers from self-inflicted muscle damage (plasma CK concentration).
In essence, what you should do is to train properly and do long runs before the race, but not too close to race day. Long runs close to race-day will have a negative impact on muscle recovery and slow it down, compared to those opt for doing it further away from race day, and an interesting and probably (for some) fun fact is that the older you get, the lower the muscle pain and soreness will be post-race.
But, going for a pizza, massage and a slow easy run will also help, subjectively.
Remember though that there are no short-cuts in the recovery process, which is highly individual, and that preparations are key.
/The WoS Team
Martin D. Hoffman, Natalie Badowski, Joseph Chin, Kristin J.
Association of Academic Physiatrists (AAP). “How the body recovers from an ultramarathon.” Science daily, 18 February 2016.
Ultramarathon runners can expect an approximate five-to-seven-day subjective recovery post race, according to research presented this week at the Association of Academic Physiatrists Annual Meeting in Sacramento, Calif. The study also looked at factors that affect physical recovery and a runner’s ability to return to full running speed after participation in an ultramarathon.
(Full study can be found here http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02640414.2016.1183808 )