Recovery

Bryan Keane Recovery

To maximise the effect of training you must pay as much attention to your recovery as you do to the training session itself. The period of time between the training stimulus and your next session is highly significant to ensure your body adapts appropriately. Obviously, you should ensure that you approach the session in a healthy state too.

At this time of year, typically the off-season for triathletes (Winter), it’s important that you keep Vitamin D and Essential Amino Acid levels at a sufficient level in your diet. Due to a lack of sunlight at this time, some of us may be low in this Vitamin and as a consequence may limit our mineral uptake and suppress our immune systems. Cleanmarine Krill Oil has added Vitamin D which helps enhance the absorption of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphate and zinc. Also if you are struggling to get fresh green foods such as spinach and kale in to your diet, One Nutrition Power Greens can be added to smoothies, broths and soups to ensure you are optimising your vitamin and mineral intake.

Below I have outlined some key principles which I often resort back to with athletes, even at an elite level, to remind the about the importance of this training factor. Here I give brief tips on 3 types of recovery:  1. within a Training Season or Macrocycle, 2. post-session, and 3. within a training block or mesocycle.

  1. The difference between ‘resting’ and ‘the Off-season’

Resting =

  • Taking a break physically and mentally away from you sport
  • Unstructured training: Doing what you feel like when you feel like doing it
  • Socialising, going on holiday, catching up with your other life!
  • Duration lasts between 1 week-1 month
  • Next phase = The OFF season

The Off-Season =

  • Building into training for the New Year
  • A gradual increase in structured training
  • A gradual reload
  • A focus predominantly on building a solid foundation of aerobic training and emphasis on technique and form
  • Connecting your kinetic chain through strength work and mobility so that you move efficiently 
  • Duration lasts approximately 3-4months
  • Next phase = Pre – Comp season

 

  1. Maximising post-session recovery

There are 3 main objectives to cover after a training session

  1. Restore fluid and energy homeostasis
  2. Repair muscle damage
  3. Reduce neural and psychological symptoms of fatigue

How to go about achieving these objectives? Here is a step-by-step process of how to ensure you start recovering efficiently after a session and avoid illness and injury:

  1. Session finishes, warm down i.e. Staying warm as you cool down! This is a good time to debrief about your session and programme with your coach so no questions linger and you (and your coach!) rest with peace of mind and clarity.
  2. Put some clothes on you! Bare skin easy access for cold chill to creep in.
  3. Rehydrate refuel restore energy homeostasis. Aim to replace every 1kg of weight lost during a session with 1.5l of water and some electrolytes* (*depending on the humidity and heat). Intake between 10-20g of protein and 40g of carbohydrate* (*if your aim is to reduce body fat then carbohydrate still must be ingested to recover but not excessively). 
  4. Shower and put on warm dry clothes (throw your compression socks on now if you wish)
  5. Rest, feet up, relax.
  6. Foam roll and realign before bed. Think of it as trying to move your soft tissue into a format you want them to rest at. During sleep many hormonal actions take place; release of Human Growth Hormone helps with reparative damage to tissue (adult recommended 8hrs minimum per night or throughout the day consistently over-time)

If you want to do contrast baths/showers or Cryotherapy, do not linger about, get in, get out. Science goes as far as to support the placebo effect of this treatment. In other words, it’s refreshing. Unless you are specifically cooling muscle (e.g. calve) or joint (e.g knee/ ankle) for a significant period of time (10-15min) at a specific temperature (8®C).

  1. Tips on maximising recovery within a training block/ mesocycle or an “unload week”

Depending on your training cycles for example, 3 week builds with 1 week unload, here are some tips on how to allow your body and mind re-fresh;

  • Debrief with you coach. Review how your last block went and where to move from here.
  • Reduce training load by managing the frequency, duration, and/or intensity of sessions
  • Cross-train by using active recovery sessions e.g. Mountain Biking, OW swimming, Hiking
  • Use therapies such as soft tissue massage
  • Maintain a healthy adequate diet and stay hydrated
  • Attend to any physical niggles
  • Switch off from the sport and socialise