After a long weekend of training or a big weekend of racing, there is only one thing that should be a priority.
This is honestly one of the big advantages many professional triathletes have over the “weekend warrior.” One of the big reasons they are able to do workouts we can only dream of doing is because they have the opportunity to not only train like pros but also recover like pros.
Whether you are gearing up for another week of training or ensuring you aren’t hobbling your way around the office on Monday, recovery is key.
So what are the keys to recovery?
We’ll address the obvious one first. You have to, as much as possible, give your muscles a break. Try to sleep a little more than usual if your schedule allows it. And go ahead, watch one more episode of The Office.
This is of course understanding we all have responsibilities beyond triathlon, which is ok because of our second key…
That’s right. Sometimes movement is exactly what your body needs to recover. I don’t mean intense movement, but your muscles need to stay lubricated and movement is the best way to make sure that happens.
Take advantage of the time your kid is at soccer practice and get in a short, light walk. Get up from your desk and do a few gentle air squats.
Back to keeping your muscles lubricated, we all know the importance of hydration. Your body is made up of blah blah percent water, you know all the things.
Water keeps your blood flow appropriate, appropriate blood flow flushes all the toxins you build up during training. Combine hydration and movement by getting up regularly to get a drink from the water fountain or fridge.
Fueling for recovery begins before your workout ends. That’s right. You might be thinking, “I don’t need this nutrition to finish off my run” and that may be true. But consider this, any “extra” calories you take on while training will end up just supporting muscle recovery.
I’m not saying you have to eat within some magic window of finishing your workout to replenish everything you lost. But remember, your food gives your body the building blocks it needs to recover, so don’t skimp on nutrition!
Here’s your question for this week: Which of these do you find the most difficult? Why? I challenge you to focus on one of each of these for the next four weeks. At the end of the four weeks, let me know if you feel your body recoving better.
I’m willing to bet it will be!