Date of Award

Fall 12-16-2023

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Kinesiology (EdD)

Department

Kinesiology

First Advisor

Dr. Eric LaMott

Second Advisor

Dr. Josh Smith

Third Advisor

Dr. Peter Jankowski

Abstract

Ultramarathons have become increasingly popular over the last few decades. Ultramarathons are run on various terrains in different climates and are extremely distressing physiologically and psychologically. Recovery is crucial to restore physiological and psychological functioning yet is underappreciated. Compared to other sports, research related to ultra-endurance is limited, and a gap in research exists on effective recovery modalities and duration for ultrarunners. This study aimed to examine ultrarunners' practice and perceptions regarding recovery techniques and duration. An electronic survey designed for this study collected participants' perceptions about recovery and included physiological and psychological recovery factors. A total of 159 ultrarunners participated worldwide, with 68 males and 91 females, and an average age of 45.4 years. Sleep, hydration, active recovery, and post-race nutrition were the most used recovery techniques, while alternative and contrast therapy were the least utilized. Results showed that females were less likely to use massage (p = 0.001), heat (p = 0.02), and post-race nutrition (p = 0.004). As age increased, females were less likely to use newer strategies (p < 0.001), and more experienced ultrarunners were more likely to use cold water therapy (p = 0.04). The average recovery duration was 12 days, with most runners using subjective means to determine if they had recovered. Experienced older male runners took longer to recover (p = 0.07). Four themes were identified for post-race mood changes: positive emotion, negative emotion, agitation, and low motivation. Age, experience, and gender appear to influence recovery technique and duration. The results suggest an opportunity for athlete education regarding the use of recovery modalities and recovery duration.

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