Going from 1st marathon ever last year to 5 marathons this year while also racing all distances of triathlons requires some serious recovery sessions. Feeling every bone in my feet, and aches in leg muscles I didn’t even know could hurt makes me want to lay for days like this puppy. As an ignorant/stubborn endurance athlete, I used to just know two modes: ON or OFF.
BUT – here are a few things I learned about recovering that have helped me in getting faster and stronger.
1. A successful recovery from a hard race/workout starts with fluids & food. This includes 48 hrs – 24 hrs before the race, to eating primarily protein/carbs within 45 minutes post-race is vital to regain energy levels and keep your body strong. “Being too busy” or “Forgetting” will just break you down within a few hours, and feeling better will take much longer. I made that stubborn mistake a few times. I now plan my Post food before my workout during the week, on the weekends we decide on Brunch place before the workout!
2. “REST DAY” is used to describe reduced intensity sessions but maintain cardio volume. These benefits are achieved during the week after a race with the right food, sleep hours & muscle movement! Versus “Taper” which means less volume sessions but maintain intensity the week before the race. Days I know I’d be prone to avoiding training, joining Roger on whichever morning run route he’s taking motivates me to get out of the door.
3. Avoiding training sessions : feeling sore :: Avoiding kitchen visits : feeling hungry. Moving in a cardio fashion while sore refreshes the mind & muscles. Cross training helps avoid burn out by bridging the gap between everything hurting & beast mode racing again without losing fitness. I like to “cross train” via bicycle, swim or SUP because it stretches alternative running muscles but still works the core.
4. A sedentary lifestyle and/or long periods of sitting cancels out the fitness gained from a workout. This was profound to research. My workplace upgraded everyone’s desk to a standing desk, and a chair can be used if desired which is not often. I proactively limit the amount of time I’m sitting, also when eating lunch!
5. Get in the pool! Swimming is an awesome no-impact full body exercise. While Roger was injured not being able to run at all, he’d do PT stretches, drills and jog in the pool to help massage his Psoas and IT band issues. Whether the water is used just for no-impact cardio or massage, your recovery awaits in the water. Don’t take my word for it though, here’s Women’s Running “Ask A Coach” suggestion to get runners into cross train cardio in the pool.