The Pain Recovery Chart seen below is probably applicable to fatigue recovery times as well. The type of fatigue which occurs from some hour long exertion at some level to a recovery to some specified level of energy can be charted. The same rate of exertion continuing for two hours will give a deeper level of fatigue and will take longer to recover one’s natural state of energy. An exertion of four hours will give even a deeper level of fatigue, etc. Up to a certain point this exertion times time is probably linear, but when some point is passed the recovery times change and the rate of recovery slows.
Years ago, in my 40s and 50s, I ran about fifteen miles every other day and my recovery times were easily consistent with that level of exertion. But when I ran an occasional marathon, which was 26.2 miles, my recovery time was much longer, not just two days. I couldn’t have run another marathon for almost a week, because I was burnt out. They used to say anyone in good shape can run twenty miles and be okay to run again in a day or two; it’s the last six miles that really wipe you out.
This chart might work well for estimating some types of recovery from exhaustion, but I know from experience that once an athlete passes a certain level of exhaustion, which for marathon runners commonly occurs at about twenty to twenty-five miles, a different type of exhaustion occurs and that type would have a different curve on the recovery chart from the earlier types of exhaustion. If some runners would plot their exertion levels for when they hit the wall, and then plotted their recovery times on this chart, we would have some real-world data upon which to idealize their training schedules and perfect their race times. Click chart for a larger image which is printable so you can graph your progress.
Note your finishing time and condition on the chart and observe your recovery over a few days until the next challenge. Then track your progress using a separate color line. Label these line with dates and specific information. Check out the Probaway Pain Chart for some guidance on measuring these types of situations.