Resting after an ultramarathon

Lauren Shay 02.03.2020

It’s been just over a week since I finished Delirious W.E.S.T. – a 350km run in Western Australia. While my body is recovering well and my swollen feet are now back to normal Hobbit size, my brain is taking longer. The fatigue is next level, and while I like to keep moving as part of my active recovery, I’m really having to put the brakes on as I know I pushed my body and mind to their limit.

So, just how much time should runners spend resting after an ultramarathon?

Unsurprisingly, it depends on many factors: the distance run, the effort put in, terrain, and the runner’s experience level, to name a few.

And one runner’s idea of “rest” may vary significantly to another runner’s.

Perhaps it may be more helpful to look at what rest is not.

In the wonderful article, “How Long Should I Rest After an Ultramarathon?”, Heather Hart says resting is definitely not hard-effort workouts that exceed 60-65% of your maximum heart rate for short-distance efforts. Rest is also not a run that lasts for longer than 1 hour or a technical run or climb/descent that puts extra stress on the body.

How long you need to recover after your ultra really does depend on you and your fitness level. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, but good sleep and kindness to your body and mind are essential.

To read more on this topic, check out Hart’s article here: