For many of you who are prepping or recently finished your “A” 140.6 race of the year, you may be questioning how the recovery phase looks like with regards to frequency, duration, and intensity.
Although post 140.6 and 70.3 recovery is dependent on each athlete, their fitness level and experience, I have learned through illness and injury, weight gain and PIDS, Post Ironman Depression, what works best for me after my 20 Ironman to recover and ease myself back to training and racing.
Inflammation is our body’s recovery process and can take about 10 days to complete its course and we need to make sure that any training we do does not negatively impact this.
Nutrient-dense foods is the best recovery techniques you control. Most of us are meticulous about our hydration and nutrition during training and often we allow ourselves to go off track from the nutrient-dense diet post-race allowing ourselves more caloric dense foods often in excess of white flour and sugary.. The types of “cheat” foods can cause a lot of inflammation within our bodies and at this time when your body is recovering its not the time to be adding more stress. For sure its ok to have some treats 2-3 days following your event but make sure you get back on track with your nutrient-dense foods to optimize your recovery.
Also, since training is minimalized, allow yourself to sleep in, take naps on the weekends or other times when you generally might be doing an intense training session.
What does your training look like?
I recommend at least 2-3 days rest, short low-intensity active recovery workouts, like swimming drills with fins, easy 30-minute spin or walks. No running.
Keep a training log with detailed notes about how you are feeling on a scale of 0-10, 0 meaning 100% recovered, after each workout, making notes about how many hours of sleep you are getting, and muscle soreness and fatigue pre and post-workout
At this point, soreness may be starting to fade but you will still be feeling residual fatigue. Your legs might feel exhausted walking upstairs or you are breathless. Possible you might be motivated to get back into a training groove, yet you will find you become tired quicker then you did before the event at a lower rate or perceived effort. The duration of any training should be less than an hour at recovery to an aerobic base. Continue some cross-training, aqua jogging and other machines at your health club.
This is the time period that many athletes will jump back into their normal training routine. If you are still feeling your legs burn or you become breathless while walking upstairs you need lighter, shorter active recovery days. Don’t fight against your body at this time and enjoy some walks.
You can think about adding in a run or run/walk mix and even add up to a 1.5-hour bike ride making sure everything is easy – you are still recovering, not building fitness, just keeping your body moving and being mindful of how you are feeling mentally and physically.
You u will start to feel “normal again”. We are all different so we still have to listen to our bodies. If you feel normal 1-2 hours after training then you are good to get back to regular training again, if you are feeling very sleepy and lethargic its a sign your body and the immune system is still in a recovery process and you need to maintain easy training for a few more days.
When can we race again?
Remember, triathlon is a lifestyle so enjoy the process. Experienced athletes might jump into an event 3-4 weeks post-Ironman, they have a great recovery protocol they follow. Listen to your body and motivation and have a STRONG WHY to jump back into the racing scene.
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