There is a time to train, a time to race and a time to recover. Most endurance athletes have a training strategy and race day strategy yet very few athletes have a recovery strategy.
Recently I spent 14 hours completing an ocean swim, long bike ride and run / hike up a mountain summit with 2 friends. This event took a tremendous amount of effort, physically and mentally. Some more details on my Strava here. A few days later I felt like I had been hit by a train haha, maybe a small train.
The week after my focus was on recovery in a variety of ways. In this post I share a few thoughts on why and how to recover well for long term health and success in your next training cycle and block.
The physical and mental aspect of recovery
Endurance events such as a half marathon, marathon or triathlon, demand peak performance and push your body and mind to their extremes. Proper post-event recovery is essential to heal, rebuild, and prevent injuries.
Normally my resting heart rate is 36 to 42 according to my Oura ring. The day after my recent endurance event, my resting HR was 53. After an endurance event, your body and mind can be impacted in a variety of ways. For example:
- Muscle wear and tear
- Weakened immune system
- Depleted energy stores
- Mental exhaustion
- Feeling down
- Lack of motivation to train
It is so important we acknowledge that endurance events are taxing and we have to recharge our internal body battery.
Best practices for recovery:
Sleep: Prioritize sleep as it is the best way for your body to repair itself. Aim for 7-9 hours of consistent quality sleep per night. This is one of the most underrated recovery tools.
Nutrition: Consume enough real food and don’t go overboard with the junk food to celebrate 🙂 A balanced meal with proteins, fats and carbohydrates goes a long way.
Hydration: Drink plenty of fluids to replace the water lost during the event. This is critical for the recovery of muscles and overall bodily functions. I always make sure to include some additional electrolytes as well in the days after a big effort.
Active Recovery: Engage in low-intensity exercise such as walking or swimming. This helps in improving circulation and aids in the flushing out of toxins.
Keeping it mellow: Engage in activities that relax your mind like reading, meditating, or spending time with loved ones. Instead of working late, I made it a point to call it a day at a reasonable time.
Massage and Foam Rolling: This helps in loosening up tight muscles and improving blood flow.
Setting New Goals: Reflect on your performance and set new goals. This helps in maintaining a purpose and staying motivated.
Professional Guidance: Consult a physiotherapist or sports medicine specialist for personalized advice and treatment if needed.
Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to how your body responds during the recovery phase and make necessary adjustments. Don’t rush back into intense training.
Remember, recovering after an endurance event is an essential part of the process that should never be overlooked. It not only aids in physical healing but also in mental rejuvenation, setting the stage for better performance in the future. Be kind to your body and your mind, and they will carry you through many more challenges to come.
BELIEVE IN THE RUN – INTRODUCTION TO HEART RATE TRAINING
Recently I wrote a series of articles for my friends at Believe in the Run, taking a deep dive into heart rate training. Part 1 and 2 are out now:
- Part 1 of 5: Introduction to Heart Rate Training
- Why look at my heart rate?
- My personal running experience
- The core components of heart rate training
- My personal experience with MAF training
- Progress with MAF training
- Part 2 of 5: An analysis of the MAF method of heart rate training
- What is MAF training?
- Benefits of Low Heart Rate Training
- MAF training: more than low HR training
- How do I find my heart rate training zone?
- Heart Rate zones change over time
Hope some of this is helpful. Have fun out there on your runs!
P.S. Precision Fuel and Hydration is offering a 10% discount off your first order of PF&H products. The discount code is FLO10 (discount automatically applied by clicking here). I have been training and racing with their gels with and without caffeine. I will be running the Berlin Marathon and the Revel Big Bear marathon with these gels and salt pills. Several other members in our Personal Best running coaching program are really enjoying their products as well. This 10% discount code is available at visit.pfandh.com/Flo10