I’m usually ready to run very soon after a race - maybe take a day off and then hit the road running (pun intended) pretty hard.
The last several trail races have physically worn me out (probably because of the increased mileage), so I’ve changed my post-race recovery approach in several ways:
Diet : I’ll be the 1st to admit that I have a terrible diet, but I’ve been eating very well before and after my races lately. I owe this to the suggestions of several of my friends (thanks, Laura, Marcos & David). I’ve noticed that my appetite after an ultra goes through the roof. My response to it has been to let myself eat what I want and as much of it as I want. My reasoning: I just put my body through a tough and grueling race - it’s time to reward it. And, yes, they’ve been foods that previously were nonexistent in my diet: chicken, meats, veggies & fish. Nonexistent no more.
Recovery Run: I’ve let myself “go with the flow” during my runs after a race. My “what I want” rule applies here too. I’ve started running what I want (distance) at the pace I want. I’ve let my body dictate almost all aspects of it.
For example, yesterday, I was still tired from Saturday night’s race, but I was itching to go for a run. All day, I was toying with a distance in my head: 3 miles, no, 6, wait…8 sounds good. When I got to the trail, I said “self, just run easy until you are done. Not exhausted done but done finished.” I ended up doing just a bit over 10. It was an excellent run. Not too fast, not too slow, just right. I probably could’ve gone a bit more but (wisely) decided that was enough.
I’ve always enjoyed pushing my body because I’ve always thought that if I pushed it, it'd respond. I still believe this, but i'm realizing i'm older and must take care of my finely-tuned (at times) machine of a body.
What's your idea of recovery?