I know, I know…you are already busy enough trying to balance everything in your life: being a mom, a wife, working, training, friends, etc. Taking extra time to recover might seem like an impossible task but it can be done with minimal time. And since you are spending so much time and energy training hard for race day, don’t you want to reap all full benefits from all that hard work?
Here’s my advice on some quick and easy ways to recover:
- Foam rolling: Foam rolling breaks up muscle adhesions that can cause muscle imbalances, improves your flexibility, joint function and
helps keep you injury free. If done regularly, 5-10min/day is all you need. And don’t procrastinate it! I recommend doing this immediately after your workout to help flush out toxins and lactic acid from your training. Plus, I find if I don’t do it right away, it seems to not get done.
- During workout nutrition: Hydrating and fueling properly DURING your training puts your body in the best state which allows your body to recovery quicker and easier. For workouts which are an hour or less, water is fine for hydration. For workouts over an hour, use a sports drink to hydrate and incorporate some food (gels, bars, etc.) in as needed. This is also a good chance to practice your race day nutrition strategy! The more you practice, the better.
- Daily Nutrition: Good daily nutrition gives your body the ability to live up to its full athletic potential. We are all going to spend time eating, so why not spend time feeding your body properly. A little planning goes a long way. Spend a little bit of time on Sunday, chopping fruits and vegetable for snacks and dinners, cooking lean meats to heat up quickly during the week. Consume in lots of dark green leaf
y vegetables, lean meats, and dark fruits such as cherries and blueberries. I like to keep stashes of healthy snacks in my car and workout bags so I never start a workout under fueled.
- Post-workout window: Take advantage of the 30min post workout window. If you are not going to have time to eat a decent meal right away after a workout, make sure to take in some calories within 30min after workout. This is when the body is most prepared to absorb all the lost nutrients during training and it will accelerate muscle repair. You’ll need some carbs and a little protein (smoothies with protein powder, a scoop of recovery powder, or chocolate milk are good choices).
- Compression: Since most of us go right from a training session to our busy lives, compression garments a
re a quick and easy way to help your body recover. Compression garments improve circulation and decrease muscle soreness post-workout. So give your body a little extra help by throwing on a pair of compression socks or compression tights on under your everyday clothes
- Recovery days: Make use of your recovery days the right way. Don’t try an cram a weeks worth of errands into your recovery days. Just because you have a day off or an easy day of training does not mean you should try to cram a weeks worth of errands into the day.
- Recovery workouts: Just because you are trying to squeeze in the most amount of training into the least amount of time, doesn’t mean each session needs to be hard. Recovery workouts help you maintain some training volume without taxing the body. It also allows your muscles to flush out toxins and lactic acid from prior workouts. Make sure you have variety in your training. Not each session should be hard. If you go easier on on the easy days, you will be able to go harder on the hard days.
Bonus tips for when you have some extra time:
- Nap: As ones of my coaches used to say “sleep is magic”. There is no better way to recover than sleeping. Keep in mind that the harder the training, the more sleep you are going to need. Even if you can snag as little as a 15min nap in here and there it can really make a big difference.
- Spend some more time foam rolling and throw in some stretching!
Contributed by Equally Inspiring coach:
USAT Level 1 Certified Coach
Licensed Physical Therapist