Well Hello September, how did you get here so darn quickly?!? I've just gotten back from a whirl wind weekend in Mont Tremblant, checking out the 70.3 Course. I will tell you one thing - I've got some hard work ahead of me if I want to do well. But I'm GAME. For now I need to recover from the beatdown I put on my body over the weekend. Which is perfect timing for today's Tri Talk Tuesday post. Today Courtney, Cynthia and I are chatting about rest and recovery, two things that are just as important as putting in the miles. If you don't get adequate amounts of either, all those miles you're putting in are pointless.
The older I get the more important both of these things have become. A few years ago, I used to be able to plow through back to back hard workouts. This year I've noticed that it's harder for me to do so. Normally I take one day off a week. This year there have been a few weeks that I've actually taken 2 days off. Recovery is different for everyone but generally the younger you are, the faster you recover. Men also recover faster than women (how is that fair?!?!).
After a goal race, I usually take a week off. I may swim to help deal with muscle soreness, if I feel like getting up. But the week is usually about rest and maybe a bit of active recovery. It all depends on the distance of the race and how my body feels. The other thing I also do in the week after a race is go for a massage. Massage can help speed up the recovery process by flushing out the remaining lactic acid in your legs and getting the blood flowing. I also make sure I hydrate well and eat something with protein and carbs in it to help start the repair process and replenish glycogen stores. I've been using Genuine Health's ActiveRecover a lot after races and hard workouts and it's been nothing short of amazing.
The other important piece to the training puzzle is sleep. And according to this article, it's something that we don't get enough of. Sleep is where the magic happens. It's where your hours of training turn into results. 7.5-9 hours a night is the target zone for most people. Sadly most of us are lucky if we get 7 hours a night. I usually get about 7 - 7.5 hours during the week. Sometimes 8 if I'm lucky. But because I'm getting up anywhere between 4:15-5:00 am, that means I'm in bed by 9:00-9:15 pm which means that if I've got an evening workout to do, I have to get it done, eat, shower and go right to bed, there isn't time for any TV watching or sitting around. I've actually started tracking my sleep, especially after hard efforts. This was after Sundays hard ride. I was exhausted so I went to bed just before 9:00 pm. This is also an exception because I didn't have to get up to go anywhere.
This is a bit more realistic in terms of time. Gotta love the Garmin 920xt!
Recovery is different for everyone. It's almost as individual as a training plan but it's also something we all need. The important thing with recovery is to listen to your body. Your mind may be willing to go back out and get to work but sometimes your body takes a while to catch up. If you're still feeling lethargic after your scheduled down time, you probably need a bit more time off. Learning to take it when you need it seems to be difficult for most triathletes and I am no exception. It's taken me several years to figure this out. But, better late than never, right?
How much sleep to you get a night? What are your recovery strategies?
Now that triathlon season is over for the majority of us folks in North America, Tri Talk Tuesday will be returning to it's monthly format. The next link up will be on Tuesday October 6th and we'll be talking about the Off Season.