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The Best Way To Recover From A 24 Hour Ultra Endurance Race

What's the best way to recover from a 24-hour ultra-endurance event like a Spartan Ultra Beast or World's Toughest Mudder? EndurElite Chief Endurance Officer Matt Mosman has your research backed answer.

5 Quick Tips To Recover Fast From a 24 Hour Ultra Endurance Event.

  1. No exercise for 1 week after your 24-hour race. The second week back decrease volume and intensity.
  2. REST!  8 hours a sleep per night and frequent naps week after.
  3. Immediately post race eat 1.2 - 1.5 grams of carbs per kilogram body weight and every 2 hours thereafter for 4-6 hours. Consume 25 grams of protein immediately after the race with your carbs. RecoverElite makes a great choice.
  4. Increase protein intake the week after the 24-hour race. Shoot for 1.8 - 2 grams of protein per kilogram body weight daily.  This will help boost immunity.
  5. If you choose cold therapy...use an ice bath instead of cryotherapy.

Full Video Transcription:


Good morning, family of fast. Matt Mosman, the Chief Endurance Officer over at EndurElite. Earlier in the week, I shot a video on the best way to fuel and hydrate before and during the World's Toughest Mudder or Spartan Ultra Beast or ultramarathon, etc. Today, we're gonna talk about the best way to recover after one of these 24-hour events.

Again, whether it's the World's Toughest Mother, a Spartan Ultra Beast, an ultramarathon, ultra-mountain bike race, basically, anything that's 24 hours, I'm gonna tell you that the best way to recover. Now, this is gonna be really mind-blowing because recovery comes down to three things: nutrition, rest, and maybe a couple other techniques that can help you recover a little bit quick.

Now, what I'm gonna tell you today is based on the research. It's not a bunch of bro science I'm gonna be spitting out at you or a bunch of opinion, because there actually is a lot of research on these 24-hour type events and what's happening and then the best way to recover from these things. So let's just hop right into it.

What Happens To Your Body After A Spartan Or Tough Mudder Race

A lot of the research shows that after a 24-hour ultra-endurance events, a few things are happening in your body. One, biomarkers of muscle damage are severely elevated in the blood, so things like creatine, kinase, a pretty good indicator of muscle damage, kidney and liver function are impaired, immunity is impaired a little bit.

Basically, you just beat your body to complete shit and now it's rebelling against you, so a lot of things going on there. So what the heck do you do about this? Well, first and foremost, let's talk about rest. What the research suggests is that these kind of markers of muscle damage return to normal about 72 hours after you're done with the ultra-endurance event.

Now, I don't know about you, but from my 24-hour races before, 72 hours is not enough time to rest before you start training again. Your body may feel a little bit recovered, but then you're thinking about all the micro tears in your muscles and your suppressed immunity and all these other things. So in my humble opinion, if you run an ultra-endurance event, I would wanna see you take a complete week off of no exercise at all and then the following week, I mean, severely, severely decrease your training volume and intensity, I mean, super easy stuff two weeks after. So that's part one.

Sleep After A Spartan Or Tough Mudder Race 

Part two, and this is, I mean, really easy. Get some damn sleep. So at least eight hours a night. Take naps if you want to. Your body needs to recover after these type events unless you're, like, superhuman, which I don't know anybody that's superhuman except maybe, maybe Rhea Coble [SP]. That one's for you, Rhea.

So again, it really comes down to, at least, resting for a complete week and then when you come back, decreasing the overall total volume and intensity, and maybe even beyond that. Let's let your body be your guide. If you come back the second week and you're still feeling just worn out and sore and just don't have the pep in your step, I mean, just take it easy. I mean, these things take time to recover from based on, you know, how long you're out there, you know, running or doing the obstacle course race and how your individual body responds. So that's the first part. Get a lot of rest.

Carbohydrates For Recovery After A Spartan Or Tough Mudder Race

Now the second part really comes down to nutrition, as far as the recovery process. So immediately after your ultra-endurance event, you wanna get carbohydrates in ASAP. And what the research recommends here is about 1.2 to 1.5 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram body weight within the first 30 minutes and then every 2 hours thereafter for 4 to 6 hours.

What About Protein

Now with that, too, I would include about anywhere from about 15 to 25 grams of protein to basically kick-start muscle protein synthesis or the process that promotes muscle repair and recovery. And this is the reason why we created RecoverElite.

This has the right amount of carbohydrates and protein that you can take immediately post-exercise in the right amounts so that the recovery process can get started as far as resaturating muscle glycogen stores and then again, kick-starting muscle protein synthesis or the process of muscle repair and recovery. Now, after that 30 minutes and after that 4 to 6 hours, it's really, really simple. Eat every single carb in sight and every piece of protein and every piece of fat you see. Just stuff your face full basically for the...immediately after and then throughout the rest of the day after an ultra-endurance-type event.

But honestly, I mean, if you're getting about 25 grams of protein per meal after that 6-hour window and then just a high carbohydrate like lunch, dinner snacks, and things like that, you're gonna saturate muscle glycogen stores pretty quickly.

Now, after that first day, you can go back to your regular diet. I might keep the protein intake a little bit higher. Usually, for endurance athletes, 1.4 to 1.6 grams per kilogram body weight daily, but I would almost bump that up to about 1.8 to 2.0 grams per kilogram body weight, again, just to promote that muscle repair and recovery.

But also, as I stated before, your immune system can be kind of depressed after an ultra-endurance event, like, there's a lot of, like, ultra-endurance athletes that get upper respiratory infections after an ultra-type events. But back to my point, with the increased protein, there's a lot of research out there that shows it can kind of boost your immune response, so that's why I would recommend keeping my protein a little bit higher after an ultra-endurance event for the, you know, the day of and then throughout the rest of the week after the event. So that's the nutrition as far as the best way to recover.

Cryotherapy & Ice Baths For Recovery After A Spartan Or Tough Mudder Race

Now, what about other methods? I know a lot of you like cryotherapy and ice baths and things like that. And an interesting piece of literature came across my desk the other day. Now, you know from other videos, like, I don't like ice baths, I don't like cryotherapy because it can blunt the adaptive responses to exercise, but in this case, you just got done with 24 hours of racing, you can do whatever the hell you want.

So if you wanna do ice bath or cryotherapy, again, I just read this research piece, it seems like the ice baths work better and that the cryotherapy is basically just a placebo effect. But there's a lot to be said for placebo effects too, so if you wanna do cryotherapy, man, that's awesome. And if it helps you feel like you bounce back quicker with cryotherapy, go ahead and do it, but it seems like the ice baths work a little bit more to decrease the muscular inflammation that's occurred from the 24-hour event.

So that is all I have on the best way to recover after the World's Toughest Mudder, Spartan Ultra Beast, ultra-endurance event, etc., etc., etc. So if you have a buddy or a friend that does these types of events on a regular basis, but hopefully, not too regular, please share this video with them. If you want other videos on endurance training, nutrition, supplementation, and my other random musings, subscribe to the EndurElite YouTube channel or head on over to the EndurElite blog at www.endurelite.com. Get social with us on Facebook and Instagram. And until next time, my endurance friends, stay fueled, stay focused, stay fast, and stay informed.

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