The need for recovery is a well known concept. But how do you know if you are recovering well? Is it food or rest or sleep or something else? How do you get recovered while training for a big race? Here are 5 ways to recover better:
- Eat ASAP after your workout. This is the first step of carb loading. As an endurance athlete you want to increase the amount of glycogen your muscle stores. One of the ways this happens is by depleting and replenishing your glycogen stores in your muscles. Properly timed fuel during your workout and quick replenishment after your workout will get your body to carry more easily accessible energy.
- Stretch ASAP after your workout. When you work your muscles they shorten. When you stretch your muscles they get longer. When your muscles are either too short or too long you lose power. Keep a balance by stretching at the end of your workout. You will also reduce your risk of injury and reduce muscle soreness. Raise your hand if you have a tight IT Band!
- Rest. Wait I am talking to triathletes here. REST!!! Take days off each week. Every 4 months or so take 4-7 days off. Resting really will help your speed and endurance. Overtraining can be the biggest detriment to your training. Nothing is worse than missing the race because you caught a cold from overtraining and lacking proper nutrition.
- Eat whole natural foods. Take a multivitamin. Fill and fuel your body with solid nutrition. You might be burning a ton of calories and those need to be replaced. You might be able to eat what you want because of the calorie deficit, but remember that you are also using all of the vitamins and minerals in your body as well. In order to recover your body needs amino acids, vitamins, phytonutrients. Don’t be afraid to eat healthy and add proper supplementation too.
- Incorporate gadgetless training days. Go for a run without knowing your speed or distance. Bike with no goal. Swim to relax and enjoy. This kind of training can’t happen all of the time, but it is helpful to keep you in touch with what your body is telling you. A triathlete learns to ignore the pain and increase the strength of the mind. Sometimes we need to remember how to just listen to our bodies. There is also added benefit of remembering to really enjoy your sport. Sometimes the schedule and requirements takes away the joy leading up to race day. Keep the joy and get better at the same time.