Ultrarunners are familiar with Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)–muscle pain, soreness, or stiffness that occurs 24 to 72 hours after exercise. DOMS usually happens after your muscles have experienced a new or more intense workout they are not used to. During exercise, muscle fibres go through small-scale damage, or microtrauma. After exercise, the muscles aim to rapidly adapt in order to prevent muscle damage, and thus creates feelings of aches and pains. For many ultrarunners, DOMS is the least of their problems. Another kind of soreness is arguably more inconvenient, distracting, and expensive.
Delayed Onset Hunger Soreness (DOHS) is intense hunger that occurs 24 to ten days after a big race, adventure, or training cycle. DOHS is most commonly experienced after an ultrarunning race of 50K or more. For example, if a runner has just raced 100 miles, they may not feel like eating anything for hours, or even days. Often, at the finish line, runners feel unable to eat and replenish glycogen stores. If they can consume anything after a hard effort, is likely a cold beer.
DOHS is becoming increasingly common for ultrarunners. The phenomenon is lesser known than DOMS, but can feel just as debilitating. Unlike DOMS, DOHS can come and go throughout periods of recovery. For example, one minute you may feel completely fine, and the next you are a monster stuffing your face with any visible calorie.
Weird cravings include but are not limited to:
Pickles, pickles with peanut butter, watermelon and beer, tacos, dim sum, stale french fries and/or someone else’s half-eaten food. If your cravings don’t subside ten days post-race, please seek proper medical attention.
The only way to overcome DOHS (and conveniently a way of overcoming DOMS) is to just keep eating.