The Oxford English Dictionary describes recovery as:
‘A return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength’
The post event recovery is one of the key components to your race and the most commonly neglected. With the euphoria of completing a triathlon, be it completing your first race, accomplishing a longer distance, or achieving a PB, sometimes the celebration takes precedent over the recovery.
We know celebrating with friends and family over a few beers or a glass of wine is the most common recovery process but not necessarily the most effective! To enjoy the celebration and make the next few days more comfortable we strongly suggest taking some timeout to focus on your recovery, ensuring you reduce those aches and pains in the days ahead.
Here are our top tips:
1. Re-hydrate as soon as you complete your race to replace lost electrolytes.
When we take part in any kind of endurance sport, our body loses water in the form of sweat. In addition to water, your body loses electrolytes (chloride, potassium, and sodium), which are minerals in your blood, urine, and bodily fluids enabling your body to function effectively throughout the day. As well as drinking plenty of water, it is recommended to consume electrolytes in the form or energy drinks. These can be purchased in almost all high street supermarkets and can be found at the finish line. These products will reduce the amount of time your body needs to replenish the missing fluids, reducing the risk of muscle cramping and other common symptoms of fatigue.
2. Active recovery: involves low intensity and low impact activities that help reduce your body temperature and helps maintain blood flow to a normal state.
The process should last about 10 – 15 minutes and can consist of any or all of the following:
- Very light jog
- Short walk
- Light cycle on the bike
3. Stretch: all major muscle groups and anything that is sore or tight….
There are two kinds of stretches, static and dynamic. Static involves holding the position in a specific pose whilst a dynamic stretch is movement based. As we are looking to bring the body temperature down and reduce the heart rate, we suggest static stretches post event.
We suggest concentrating on one stretch for each major muscle group, holding each stretch for 20-30 seconds.
- Calves and Hamstring Stretch
- Hip Flexors
4.Nutrition: eat a small snack that contains a 4 to 1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein.
To hasten recovery time, triathletes should eat a small snack containing both protein and carbs, such as a banana, hard-boiled eggs, or even a protein/ energy bar within 30 to 60 minutes after completing a race.
5. Eat a decent sized, healthy meal: two to three hours after the race, it is time for something more substantial.
It is very easy to reward yourself with a pizza or a greasy burger post-event. As your body will have expended a larger than normal level of energy, it will be craving for the right nutrients to refuel itself. The best way to do this is through a healthy and nutritional post event meal. Anything that incorporates high protein, carbohydrates and green vegetables is highly recommend.
- Lean meat in particular chicken
- Beans and pulses
- Sweet potato