Ice Age 50 was a little over two weeks ago and so many runners are back at it. Grinding away. Putting in the miles, and faster than their 50k or 50 miler pace. Kinda makes me feel inadequate as a runner! But what people (runners included) forget is that the race hasn’t ended. Although it feels over when they hand you your buckle at the finish line, it’s really not over until your body says it is. With all the stress put on your body for 50 miles, now it’s expected to be okay a few days later…? Unfortunately even the best runners in the world are not invincible!
After finishing Ice Age, the hardest part of the race period starts for me. It’s not the anxiety ridden morning, or the grueling time on my feet, or even the mental battle for over 8 hours. Nope. It’s the recovery that actually is the hardest part. Most runners probably don’t even realize how hard it really is. When working with athletes on their recovery (Fit with Food Consulting is my own RD practice), they can’t seen to ever get it right and it directly impacts their ability to avoid injury and come back strong for their next race period. And I’ll be honest, I don’t always get it right either!! The end of ones race period is comprised of nutrtion, rest, and rehab. With a runners high and buckle in hand, usually we forget all of that and eat whatever we want which compromises lean muscle, drink beer which does nothing for recovery, and manage to be on our feet even more!
Depending on your body and how well you recovered immediately after your race, it could take an upwards of 1-3 months to fully recover! It’s been 15 days since Ice Age and I’m maybe 60% recovered. I nailed the nutrtion part, took plenty of time off, but the rehab part is taking longer. It probably doesn’t need to, but after Ice Age, Rivs had me make a log of all the places on my body that hurt before, during, and after the 50 miles. So after a few days of complete rest, that’s what we tackled. Sure, stretching and rolling are key, but we tapped into back exercises, hip work using bands, strength training for the lats, romboids, and low back; flossing the siactic nerve, balance work….so much to make the next race period even more successful….you don’t want to feel those twinges ever in an ultra!! During such a long distance, you really can pinpoint the weaknesses in your body and where to improve next.
So as I approach 20 days out from Ice Age, we will begin training again at 100%. Thursday is the day. Will I be fully recovered from Ice Age…falling short a little, but I feel so much success coming out of that race. I learned my points of weakness,, my biggest struggles with that distance, and just how important basic strengthening exercises are for recovery. If I had to guess, I bet most pros spend majority of their time recovering!! It goes along with Rivs motto…Race Hard, Rest Hard. I kinda think for me, it’s Race Hard, Rest Harder. I get far more from my recovery for the next race period than just running. “Just running” all the time does absolutely nothing for you really … Always run with purpose. Listen to your body. Pushing it days after a major distance is for the birds!! #TreatYourBodyWell
Up next….Kettle 100 and Dances with Dirt 50m. Here’s the skinny….after talking to Rivs, and because those are tune ups in a sense, I may end up pacing at the 100 and I’m dropping to the 50k at DWD. This is why coaches are the best too!! Running with purpose and to reach my ultimate goal are way more important to me than just running. I challenge you to rest harder after your next race. You will feel the improvments!!!