Recovery Strategies that work
Below are a number of basic recovery strategies that you can employ to help you look after your body and minimize your chances of getting injured or rundown.
1. Stretching and Massage
Stretching and massage on a regular basis will keep your muscles knot-free and in good condition. Keeping your muscles knot free is essential when you are trying to train consistently day after day.
Remember to keep massage light after a hard training session or race as deep massage can slow recovery especially if you are not a person who has regular massages.
2. Ice and Cold Water Therapy
After a run, run a cold hose or water over your legs (especially your shins) or place your legs in a swimming pool. This is an effective way to reduce fluid build up. You can also use ice but make sure that you wrap the ice in a wet towel to avoid ice burn.
Elevating your legs after training helps to reduce fluid build up. Combined with cold water or ice therapy this is very effective.
4. Contrast Therapy
Contrast therapy is where you hose down or soak your legs in cold water (like ice or cold water therapy. see above) and then jump into a hot shower or spa pool. Once you feel your legs heating up and are red with blood jump out and put them back in the cold water. Repeat this several times.
It is ideal that within 60 minutes of finishing training, you should eat to start replacing all the nutrients that you lost throughout your training session. If you are a person who finds it difficult to eat after training, try a shake drink with a mix of both carbohydrate and protein. Many companies make these shakes and you can purchase them at most bicycle shops, health food shops and gyms.
6. Relaxation and Sleep
Aim to schedule harder training sessions on days when you can relax and aim to get more sleep. It has also been proven that short sleeps of up to an hour after training can help increase recover by increasing circulating hormones.
7. Foam Roller
Foam rollers are fantastic tools for self-myofascial release, self-massage and stretching.
Incorporating any of the above recovery strategies to complement your training plan will have positive results on your recovery rate and help you to remain injury free and consistent.