Often overlooked but as we talked about in the previous article you have different phases of training and there is no magic number of miles per week or training method.
After you goal race where you've trained hard and tapered down before pushing yourself to your limit for hours (and hours and hours in a long ultra) your body is probably going to need a bit of a rest. I've heard all kinds of wild ideas, from having a day of rest per mile you raced (I could basically never run again if that had any truth to it) to saying you should only do 1 race per year or per month or whatever. The real answer.... It depends...
If you have trained well and ran with good form and have finished the race simply with fatigued muscles then you might need a day or two to a week or two before you can get back to easy running or at least some cross training.
If you've finished the race and were hobbling a bit because your legs were dead before half way then everything stiffened up and you got a blister and were running 'funny' you might have been straining one of those knees more than the other and also got an achey calf or Achilles or whatever on one side more than the other... In this case you might have caused a bit of damage that's in excess of the usual fatigue. Similar to if you're running with poor movement like tightness in the hip flexors and rounded shoulders from hunching over a desk and a smart phone too much. If you've actually got an injury then you'll need to go and see a relevant professional and wait for it to heal before beginning some rehab work.
If you're dragging yourself out the day after a race and your legs are hurting simply for the sake of continuing a run streak etc then it's risky... Would you be better doing something with less impact like an easy spin on the bike if anything?
Honestly I feel better having done some light activity than done nothing at all. I wouldn't run if my legs felt bad or injured, I'd do something more gentle like I just mentioned. To me recovery is active and takes me the way I want to go not the opposite... How many people consider recovery to be going to the pub and eating junk food for 2 weeks? Going off Facebook newsfeed, quite a few. Whilst that's fine if that's what they want to do, it depends on your goals and what you want to achieve. Whilst I don't think sharing inspirational quotes on Instagram helps ones fitness much, remember that you get what others don't by doing what others wont.
I get a few questions about how frequently I race and get back into training after a long ultra. It depends how hard you're running also.... I run my legs off in a couple of races per year not every weekend, I do a lot of events purely for my training as it's easier when there's checkpoints and a nice route and nice to meet new people and bump into old friends too. To meas I write I've a marathon pb of 2hr 41 which isn't anything special but I can happily run sub 3 on the flat without much effort, I maintain a good mileage year round, consistently. Based on that, in something like a 2 marathons in 2 day weekend, my body isn't going to be so worn out compared to someone who has just smashed themselves to hit 3 hours on the first day and begins the 2nd day with legs that are in bits.
After my first marathon and a 6 hour drive home my legs weren't good for much, a couple of years ago I ran the Berghaus Dragon's Back Race 200 miles in the Welsh mountains before heading over to Spain for Al Andalus Ultimate Trail another 5 days and 140 miles the week later. For me it was more like my summer holiday and a good block of training than my goal events for the year, it just depends on how you train, all those daily choices you make are either helping you with your fitness or they're hindering you.
Key points listen to your body and keep safe so you can enjoy more days out on the trails and less days at the physio