How Many Recovery Days After A Race?

EndurElite Chief Endurance Officer Matt Mosman discusses how many rest and recovery days you should take after your next endurance race.

Full Video Transcription:

How Many Days Off After A Race?

Ever wonder how many rest and recovery days you should take after a race? That is going to be the topic of our extended 60-Second Brain Bomb for today.

A True Race Is Where You Have Nothing Left After

Now, let's get one thing straight before I start. When I say race, I'm not talking about your local Cola or Zombie run where you're giggling and giving high fives along the race.

Oh, no, we're talking about the kind of race that's balls to the wall, pedal to the metal, nothing left when you're done, and your body feels like it's been dipped in hot lava and ran through a meat grinder afterward. That's the type of race we're talking about.

What's Happening In Your Body After A Race?

Now, after races like this, there's a lot of things going on in your body that makes it feel like hell, such as:

  • Micro tears in the muscles
  • Pain
  • Inflammation
  • Soreness
  • Blood markers of muscle damage like creatine kinase are elevated
  • Your immune system can be a little suppressed.

Now, I don't care who you are. You're not superhuman.

You need recovery!

It's important for your long term success as an endurance athlete, and to help you avoid overtraining and injury.

But, back to the original question. How many rest or recovery days should you take after a race? And the answer is 2 days, 6 hours, 4 minutes, and 32 seconds.

There IS NOT a one size fits all answer to how many recovery days athletes need

Okay, I'm just messing with you because it is absolutely asinine to give an exact answer on this, based on:

  • Our individual differences
  • Physiology
  • Nutrition
  • Sleep patterns
  • Stress
  • Activities of daily living, whether you're a desk jockey or laying pipe. Okay, maybe that's a really bad example. By laying pipe, I don't mean porn star. I mean, actually, a guy that does construction and lays pipe. So your rest and recovery days will really depend on that.

Recovery Days Is Also Activity-Dependent

It's also going to depend on the type of activity you do, whether it's a running race or a mountain bike race, and then it will also depend on the distance of that race, too, that will determine how many rest and recovery days that you're going to want to take.

The Bottom Line On Recovery Days

But I'm going to give you my totally unscientific answer, which is rare form for me because I rarely do this, and give you my best advice to answer this question.

My best advice is to take 1 to 30 complete rest days off after a race, again, depending on the length and intensity of the race.

Now, if it's a 5k, you know, you can take one rest day. If it's, like, 100-mile race, you may take 30 rest days, or even longer than that.

After those complete rest days, I want you to listen to your body. It's pretty smart. It will know when it's ready to resume training or hit up that next hard work out.