Blog, Recovery

Recovery – Make it a priority

Quite often when people hear the word recovery in sports, they jump to the conclusion that it’s just an excuse to make training easier.
In fact, recovery is not a shortcut to improve your performance in any way and it’s not making your journey to become a better athlete any easier. What I have learned is that recovery is an enabler to train more consistently and harder. Consistent and hard training is the fundamental element for better performance, so recovery is your key to unlock that door.

There are different elements that make up recovery in your training.

The first one is your training plan and how it incorporates recovery. A smart training plan will allow enough room to integrate recovery on a weekly, monthly and whole season basis.

Another important element is your lifestyle. Some things are out of your control to change or influence so you want to look at two aspects that you can control. Sleep and nutrition. They are key elements and should never be neglected. Get enough and good quality sleep, make it a priority and make sure you eat enough and healthy.

The next one are recovery modalities that we can use on a regular basis and incorporate into our training program.

Here is a list of my preferred methods that I use on a regular basis.

  • Massages: Get a massage on a regular basis. I prefer frequency over duration. So once every 2 weeks. Try different ones such as remedial deep tissue, trigger point, thai, sports massage etc…
  • Acupuncture: A good alternative to a massage, good for pain relief and also good to clear energy blockages.
  • Hot and Cold therapies: Big fan of this, I use both quite regularly. Having cold showers on a daily basis and sitting in a hot dry sauna after a workout. Great way to wind down.
  • Compression gear: I use it after a big workout, usually not during racing. Always a must wear when travelling on a plane.
  • Foam rolling: I use foam rolling rather than stretching to release muscle tension. At least once a week I do a longer foam rolling session.
  • Trigger point balls: Mainly use it to treat specific areas such as glutes, upper back and neck to release stiffness and knots
  • Kinesiotape: Good in combination with compression gear post workout to increase the blood flow and reduce inflammation
  • Massage stick rollers: A very handy tool to have in your bag when travelling. Can’t get as deep as a foam roller but good for calves, forearms, necks and hips.
  • Yoga and meditation: Both are great ways for stress relief. Should be part of every training program or life in general 🙂

If you are serious about endurance sports and performance, recovery should be high up on your list and not just an add-on to your regular training. Make it a priority!

There is a lot of good information out there on the web and for me personally it’s a lot of trial and error. You need to find out what work best for you. A very good resource that I refer to quite often when I want to try out new things and geek out a little bit is Ben Greenfield’s Recovery guide. It’s worth checking out as it gives a very broad overview of recovery methods, even though some of the methods described might be a bit too extraordinary or simply too expensive to afford.