When a person says “recovery,” many triathletes just think it refers to the time after workouts, but recovery from races is just as important if not more so. I briefly touched on this in a blog post last year but I wanted to revisit the subject because it so important to having good races, better trainings, and a successful overal season.
Races puts a tremendous amounts of stress on your body–much more so than that accumulated in training. Races stress not only your muscles but also your immune system, energy levels, and psyche (motivation, mood, emotional health etc) . Especially for early season races where you may only have two to three weeks till your next one, recovery is essential so that you can resume normal training as quickly as possible and thus perform even better in your next race. If you neglect your recovery you are going to lose precious training days in the lead up to your next race. In a stacked race schedule, every day counts.
Here are Three of my Recovery Essentials that I have tested and used into my own racing schedule:
- Get Fat: At the end of a race, I like to go wild and crazy to celebrate my race. My rule is to not care about nutrition, calories, or logging intake for the rest of the day and instead eat what my body and mind is craving. This is rarely the post race food of pizza, soda, and cookies that every race seems to have. When I finish a race, I usually crave frozen yogurt, quality dark chocolate, and iced coffee (weird combo I know), so I take extra care to pack a cooler full of my indulgences before the race and thus do not have to rely on the race organizers to provide me with junk. After that though, I get back to my normal routine but with more emphasis on healthy fats from coconut (from milk and shredded), avocado, and fish. These fats have been found to have an anti-inflammatory effect and thus can allow you to aid in the restoration of your muscles. Your body is already in an inflammatory, stressed state, so you do not need add more stress it more with poor diet choices.
- Massage/foam roller/compression- After races, I head straight to the massage tent and book a slot if I can. If the race skimped on providing massage therapists then I bring a foam roller and do some self massage. Compression boots also work but some races do not have them. I then hop into my compression tights to increase blood flow. Especially if I have to travel immediately after the race, I have found compression clothing helps tremendously
- Mental break- My workout schedule is always the same after races: for one to two days after the race, I will only do what I feel like but I make sure that I do something. An easy walk, spin, or yoga class, helps rejuvenate muscles, and clear the “trash” from my system. Just keep it super easy; leave your Garmin at home, forget Strava, and just go by feel.
In my next post, I will talk about mental recovery tips that will always keep you moving forward and improving.