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Research Rundown: Recovery after Ultramarathons

Welcome to the Research Rundown- Golden Endurance’s monthly blog with quick synopses of peer-reviewed research articles relating to endurance sports. With race season in full swing here in Colorado, this month’s articles focus on recovery after ultramarathons? What is helpful in actually improving recovery times and what hasn’t shown to actually do anything? Keep reading to find out.

*All synopses below are very simplified. Want to take a deeper dive? Send us a message!*

A Randomized Controlled Trial of Massage and Pneumatic Compression for Ultramarathon Recovery by Hoffman et al

What they looked at: 72 finishers of the 2015 Western States 100 and whether compression boots or massage directly after race improved recovery

What they found: Massage and compression boots subjectively feel good, but they do not change post-treatment subjective reports of soreness/stiffness or running speeds 1-7 days post-race.

In a nutshell: Compression boots and massage may feel nice, but don’t show any improvement in recovery. If you like those things, great. If you don’t, also great.

Determinants of recovery from a 161-km ultramarathon by Hoffman et al

What they looked at: Creatine kinase levels (a biomarker indicating amount of exercise-induced skeletal muscle damage) and how they correlated with reported fatigue and soreness ratings post-100 mile race.

What they found: “appropriate training appears to be the optimal approach to enhance ultramarathon recovery.”

In a nutshell: Being adequately prepared means you’ll most likely feel better after racing (weird, right?)

A Placebo-Controlled Trial of Riboflavin for Enhancement of Ultramarathon Recovery by Hoffman et al

What they looked at: Whether a Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) supplement taken before racing and at the 90 km mark of Western States 100 had any effect on reported pain or soreness, or running speed for the 10 days after the race (aka measurements of recovery).

What they found: Muscle soreness, pain, and running speed were improved for the first 5 days in the runners who took riboflavin compared to controls. There were no significant differences 10 days after the race.

In a nutshell: Riboflavin supplementation before and during ultramarathons MAY help improve short-term recovery post-ultramarathon but aren’t going to make a difference and grand scheme of things.

Overall Takeaways of this month’s Research Rundown:

Your training prior to an event is the single best way to speed recovery post-event. Let go of all the fancy gadgets and “quick fixes” and put in the work! Interested in coaching, strength, or therapy services to help in preparation for your next event? Send us a message on our website or Instagram!

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