recovery time after 100 milers

I'm due to do the SDW in June as my first long ultra and I have seen a marathon that I would like to enter at the end of July but I have no idea whether my legs will be recovered enough, I hope they would be by then!

So I was wondering how long does it take people to recover after the longer ultras, assuming no major injury?


  • Touie - Assuming no injury you will easily be back running by then. How well depends on how you manage your recovery etc. I would say with that time gap you would be ok to run it, don't expect a PB.

    I am in for the SDW100 with a 50 booked for last weekend July which I will be running although not expecting to break any records at it image

  • thanks, thats what i was hoping for, as long as I can plod around I'm happy image

  • Interesting question, and one which I tested this year image.

    Did my first 100miler early March, Thames Path (okay I got to 91m, then they cancelled the race cos of the weather, but I still had 4hrs+ allowed time left to finish it image). However, I had already pre-entered the Connemara marathon a year in advance, well before I knew I would be contemplating TP100. This was set for early April, giving only 4wks recovery.

    So, Connemara is generally regarded as a tough marathon (the 'Hell of the West'), I was expecting, based on my times for Cape Wrath marathon which I would say is comparable with the climb, about 4hr 30m, in the end it took me 4hr 50m to complete Connemara. So, my price for 100miles - 20mins added to the marathon time, and legs that did not want to climb hills image. I plodded it and finished, and that finish felt good image.

    Rather strangely maybe, another 4wks after that, I did the Highland Fling, 53m on the West Highland Way, and knocked 15mins off my finish time for the previous year!! Horses for courses maybe, but I felt the 100 had made me stronger, given enough time to recover, and running trail rather than road.

  • thats good 20 mins isn't much extra! I was actually looking at swiss alpine marathon which I think is 6 weeks after the 100 so just a little bit hilly!!! image image

  • LOL - just a bit image. The hills on the SDW should hopefully make you stronger for the Alps, given you will have 6wks recovery and you will be used to covering such a large distance by then. I would take SDW easy though and not go for bustin' a time image.

    I will be 'aiming to finish' SDW in the 30hrs image.

  • Yes I have no idea how I will get on with the 100 so just aiming to finish in one piece! image

  • Maybe its all down to prioritising which is the most important race?

    So for instance CC, WHW would be a considerable undertaking no matter what, BUT, if in your mind you take it as a training run, and are not pushing for a time, then it could be the perfect jumping off point for UTMB.

    For some people WHW alone would be too much, but with the proper training and recovery, and especially with your previous mountain experience Cragchick, this could be the perfect formulae.

  • It's 6 weeks since I did the Ridgeway and I don't think I'd be able to enjoy a marathon just yet. Have started putting more miles in the last couple of weeks, 14 this weekend was the longest yet and my legs were quite sore by the end. Things seem to be improving quite quickly though so if you get back on it sooner than I did you'd probably be ok.

    The toughest thing for me was actually wanting to run again. I found the step up from 40-45 miles to the best part of 90 was brutal. For about 48 hours after finishing I couldn't walk, movement was very slow and painful. Things gradually eased up over a week but mentally the last thing I wanted was to get back out and run. I'd been building up to the race in my head for about 2 years so having finished, there was a now big void.

    Whether having that next race pencilled in is enough to keep your motivation up isn't something I can really comment on. I think it depends how much weight you put on finishing SDW and how you go about doing it. Completing a race of that length is a real achievement so you should be able to enjoy it and not feel like the moment it's done it's back to business as usual. I'm signed up to SDW for next year too though so whatever post race blues you get, rest assured that they do eventually pass image

  • I always feel completely flat after a big target race (eg lakeland 100 last year). takes me 4-6 weeks to feel like I have got any "edge" back but longer to get back up to serious miles. but then I'm an oldish git and recovery is obviously probably not great anyway. Other thing is that I was still carrying remnant ankle injuries 4-6 weeks after race day. Wish I could go wizzing around a few weeks later but it doesn't seem to happen - is it all in the mind I wonder?

  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭

    I did NDW100 this August and then Ridgeway 85 two weeks later.  I only got to mile 83 in the latter before I had to stop with muscle breakdown and complete loss of use of my left leg.  SO I would say two weeks is definitely not enough!

  • I did the GUCR in 2011 and 25days later was in a100mile race, ok I did not finish had to pull out due to injury at 32miles in. However there were 3 other guys that did the same and finished. So I guess its down to how you feel on the day.

  • Ok I'm finding some of these comments quite reassuring T-rex to get to mile 85 only 2 weeks after 100 = amazing!!! I only have to get to 26 miles and have 6 weeks (totally ignoring the fact it involves climbing a mountain!) image

  • Crikey T Rex - couldn't you have hopped? Its all downhill from mile 83 image

  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭

    Too risky.  In far too much pain with that leg.  I did contemplate crawling, but there were quite a few mountain bikers out and scrambler bikes and the sight would have been rather pitiful.  Also I didn't even have the strength for that.  Ended up in A&E for 24 hours with drips and having to drink gallons of water.  They were worried about rhabdomyolysis.

    As we all should be.

  • Very True T rex, I spent 2 weeks in hospitial with rhabdomyolysis in June & i am still not fully right now, still cant run with any consistency..... I think all Ultra runners should make themselves aware of this condition (I was blissfully unaware of it).

  • Sounds horrible T Rex you obviously made the right decision - I'd have done the same.

  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭

    Bret Runner  - 2 weeks??!  Hope your kidneys are OK and that you get back to proper running soon but you'll not have to overdo it again in future!  The best way to prevent a reoccurrence, I've been told, is to be sure to replace electrolytes - something I haven't bothered with much but now I'm going to have to seriously look into.

  • What matters is what state you are in after the 100. This probably is more important then any set time for recovery. If you are in a good state then you can get back into running again sooner. If you can ,try to get in a short recovery run within a few days of the ultra. This will help flush out any chemical imbalance in your body. Don,t try to run at any pace and don,t even think of going up hills. You may feel ok on the flat but hills will reveal the true state of your body.

  • T Rex - I had complete Kidney failure & had to have 32 bags of saline before my kidneys kick started again. The doctors could not say if the condition was as a result of a race I was in or if it has been building up over time (not enough research has been done with ultra runners).

    The irony is during the race my hydration and electrolyte replacement was right on the money, so my conclusion is this had been building for a while. If this had been my first 100mile race I would understand but I have several 100+ miles under my belt.

    It really makes you think, I had this kind of "I am bullet proof " perception and I think a lot of Ultra runners have the same sort of attitude which can be dangerous. Especially when used in a race situation where you have the attitude of I will finish this race regardless, I know I have been there and done it. I guess I am going to be a lot more cautious now, the danger in someways is could it make me over cautious though, I guess time will tell.

  • Off the original topic I know, but having just read another similar account in Running Tales 3 I dug out the following short article that others might find useful

    running rhabdomyolosis


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