Written by Coach Jorge Munoz
Many factors play a role in a successful training program, and Recovery is at the top of the list. Without recovery, there is no adaption and without adaptation, there is no improvement.
Recovery can occur in many parts of your day and you have control of it. Think of them as small goals through your day to optimize your workouts.
It starts as soon as you wake up in the morning.
During your nighttime sleep, your water and glycogen stores deplete. First Recovery goal in the morning is drink a glass of water (8 to 10 oz) and have a balanced breakfast with a majority of calories being carbohydrates. This is crucial if you are going out for your workout in the morning. If you skip this simple goal and go straight into your workout, you will not optimize your training and will delay recovery afterwards. How much carbohydrates depends on the length of the workout, the time between breakfast and your workout, and/or intensity and the period you are training in. Contact your coach for your individual needs.
Next goal is to prepare accordingly for your morning workout. If you are going to be out there for more than 1.5 hrs, then pack some food ,a carbohydrate drink and some water. I’ve been experimenting lately with natural food and have found many of the recipes from the Feedzone Portables book to sit well with me on long rides. Skratch Labs hydration mix is super light in taste and it provides just what you need for the ride. By being on top of your nutrition and hydration during your workout, not only will you keep your energy in place, but you will also be aiding your body by maintaining your hydration and glycogen stores. This plays very much in how quickly you recover from each workout.
Now comes the post workout goal. Everyone has a post recovery window after your training when your body is primed to replenish its glycogen stores and prepare for the next workout. The fastest way is fluides like a Recovery specific drink or even a smoothie will do the trick. To make a smoothie, take out the blender and experiment with whatever you like most. I usually start with 1 or 2 fruits, yogurt, oatmeal, and either almond or peanut butter. Lately almond milk has been my choice, but regular milk also works. Add some brown sugar, and/or honey for a sweeter taste.
While you are enjoying your smoothie use this as an opportunity to complete your next goal – stretch your muscles. Specifically the muscles you just worked out.. Make your stretches gentle and you should not feel pain. Find the spot that feels right and hold for 2-3 deep breaths. Stretch the same muscle 3-4 times. Work on your quads, hamstrings, calves, hips, back, and arms. You can also use the goTenac.com Yoga Release sequence to ease those working muscles.
For the rest of the day your goals are
- Drinking water regularly
- aim for 2-3 liters of water
- Post workout meal (separate from your post workout recovery food) to include a mix of protein, carbs, and fat.
- Lean meats/poultry are the best options for protein intake. Take it easy on the carbs, there is no need to over do it by eating a pound of pasta, just a normal portion will do.
- Repeat for dinner and put more emphasis on protein to help with muscle recovery.
Other goal modalities include massage, recovery boots, foam rollers, and simply getting your feet up. I always say if you are standing, sit. If you are sitting, lay down. If you are laying down, get your feet up. Afternoon naps work wonders, too.
Aside from all these processes, sleep is your last Recovery goal. If you are lucky and have the option to sleep 8 or more hours at the end of the day, do so! During sleep, your body works and recovers itself from all the day’s work. Do the opposite and your legs will suffer the next day, specially after a hard workout or race. With good sleep hygiene, you’ll see improvements in performance, be mentally fresh, and lessen injury/infection risk.
With these easy day to day recovery goals, you’ll find yourself recovering quicker and ready for another quality workout. Therefore, a higher gain in fitness and putting you closer to your dream goals.