Commit – Recovery after Triathlon Training is Mandatory

We have been talking a lot recently about pushing, about how to extract more from yourself than you thought imaginable. 

These are all great traits to strive for and are the hallmarks of an athlete who wants to succeed. We learn to push with dedicated discipline and consistency (remember, freedom!); we teach ourselves how to suffer. And we grow.

But that growth does not come from just that mindset alone, and it is not just about pushing, digging in. There is no balance to that, and with equilibrium, you will burn-out. Fast. 

The balance to your ‘push’ is the recovery. It amazes me that for amateur athletes this is almost a dirty word, yet for professionals in any sport, it is the Holy Grail. It is also one of the keys to their success. 

Professionals simply do recovery better. And so they should – it’s part of the job. Without that recovery, they would be useless, unable to perform at their best. 

Slight sideways note: Rafa Nadal was recently a good example of this. He pushed himself so hard through the Aus open that by the time he got to the finals, he was simply cooked; unable to be at his best. 

The obvious counter to this is that you (we) are not professionals. The pros have more time to focus on recovery (in theory at least). They don’t have the same daily routines, and therefore commitments that you and I do. 

My argument to this is that makes your recovery needs even more crucial to your outcomes. You should be drilling down hard on your recovery strategies, finding ways to get snippets in here and there, being savvy with your approach.

Everyone wants to be badass’s in training, but how about being a badass at recovery?

Our philosophy at EC is that you show up to training and racing, and you put everything of what you have – physically and mentally – into what you do. Then you shut it down and go into recovery mode. What that recovery mode means, will be different for each athlete, and dependant on their schedule. 

You have time to find what works, and to do that you have to know what works – what is the most effective? What can they squeeze in with small snippets? What time can they create for longer, more dedicated recovery strategies?

I favour the little snippets more than the larger ones. Twenty minutes of Yoga each morning will set you up for success each day and may be far easier to commit to than driving to a studio for 90-minute class after work, when you could be feeding the kids, mowing the lawn, or finishing reports. 

There is absolutely nothing wrong with 90′ of Yoga, but for the time-crunched athlete, 7x 20miutes is far more achievable and just as beneficial. 

Another semi-side-note: EC is working closely with some fantastic people on this, more coming soon. 

It could be even simpler: finishing off a hard run session by laying on your back, with feet/ legs elevated. 

Even simpler: rehydrating and refuelling the body immediately. Even simpler again: getting more sleep. Recovery isn’t rocket surgery. 

You have to have a full armoury of strategies, ready to utilise whenever possible and required. Don’t wait for someone else to take care of it.

Part of the issue athletes have with recovery is that they do not commit to it. It becomes a side-note, not a priority.  And I think we tend to over-complicate what is a straightforward task. Sure, those over-priced recovery boots help the legs feel fresh, but only if you have the spare hour to sit still in them (and if you did, why would you not spend that time rolling out?). 

If your recovery strategy is waiting for a massage every four weeks, you are not properly committed to recovery, and therefore are not properly committed to your athletic development. It’s as simple as that. Spending 10 minutes each day, cycling through un-loaded movement patterns (like these) is going to help you move better, flush out the body and switch the brain off from the training-focused mind.

 And that is another overlooked aspect of recovery: the switch off. All of that focus and stimulus combines to provide a significant demand on your mental energy – especially in larger training blocks. If your recovery habits include over-analysing every nuance of your session, then you are not giving yourself the chance to free up some mental space. Letting go of a session and moving on with your life isn’t always easy, but it is super important.

 So, find your balance, assess how much stimulus VS recovery you are getting? Where can you find more? (hint: above) What habits do you need to change to help you commit to your recovery?