Ever woken up the morning after the night before with those eyes sealed shut, a mouth that makes the Sahara look inviting, and what feels like a man with a jackhammer trying to gain entry through your temple? Times it by a hundred, and you get the feeling of a Tough Mudder hangover. Your body wants payback for the hell you put it through the day before. Recovering from a Tough Mudder is a challenge in itself, but, luckily we are here to help, with a few tips and tricks to get you back in fighting shape in no time.
Ice ice baby...
You’re probably sick of the site of freezing cold pools of water after your challenge, but you need to take the plunge one more time. Taking an ice bath ASAP after a hard workout can dramatically help the recovery process. Your body will be exhausted, so it will be producing lactic acid like it’s going out of fashion. The cold water will provide light compression on the muscles while expelling the lactic acid away from the muscles. Don’t overdo it though, 7-10 mins in the tub should do the trick, but everyone is different, so know your limits.
Grab that heat pack
When you wake up the day after Tough Mudder, we forgive you for thinking you might have passed on to the next life. But don’t worry, eyes that won’t open, and limbs that are rooted to your mattress are all just temporary symptoms of your newly achieved greatness. Your muscles and bones will need some major TLC over the next couple of days, and heat will play a vital part.
Ice is great on race day for muscular damage limitation, but after that heat will be your best friend. Apply heat packs to any achy body part. The heat will increase the blood flow, carrying more red blood cells to the painful area, getting you fixed up quicker. If you don’t want to splurge on pre-made heat packs, you can try filling a clean sock with rice and sticking it in the microwave for a couple of minutes before applying it.
Put those feet up...
We don’t encourage sitting in bed all day very often, so make the most of it. The day after Tough Mudder is the one day we’ll let you off. Your muscles will be stiff and sore so they need rest. Sleep is the best form of rest as your body is completely relaxed. If you're still buzzing from your achievement and find it hard to sleep, try listening to relaxing music or reading a book. these are great ways to relax both your body and mind.
...but not all day
Rest is vital, but too much can do damage. Make sure you stretch and foam roll for the next few days at regular intervals. Try a very short walk the day after Tough Mudder to keep your bones and muscles nice and loose. If you don’t get out of the house then your muscles will tighten and you run the risk of injury when you start training again. Gradually increase your activity over the following days. You should be fine heading back into the gym after a few days rest.
Just because you’re allowed a few days on the couch, doesn’t mean you can chow down on junk food. Eating the right things at the right time can speed up your recovery. Make sure you take on plenty of fluids, water and isotonic drinks are the best ways to re-hydrate. Take on plenty of protein, it will help rebuild the muscle fibres that broke down on your way to Tough Mudder victory. Eggs, steaks or your regular protein shakes are great sources of protein. Recovering from a Tough Mudder will take all the strength you can get, so, load up on carbs - particularly foods like whole wheat pasta that give a slow releasing energy boost.
People often say you shouldn’t look back, we say you should. You’ve just finished a Tough Mudder! Remember that when you're sat in bed wondering how you lifted yourself over the Everest the day before, but now are now struggling to lift your fork, it might provide you with some solace.