BASE Performance - The Art of Recovery BASE Performance - The Art of Recovery

The Art of Recovery

It’s that time of year again. Spring is happening everywhere. And with spring comes better weather and the itch to get outside to ride or run long miles. It’s also race season. Time to plan your race and race your plan. A lot of people think going hard and training 7 days a week is a sure fire way to success. But that really isn’t the case. What is the least thought of aspect of training? You might be surprised (or not) to find that it is recovery.

Recovery is a cornerstone to any good training plan. Without it, athletes would just run their bodies to the ground. Injuries would be rampant. Focus would be lost. Motivation would be lacking. It might seem counterproductive to the beginner athlete, but proper recovery will actually improve your race times and get you to that goal. Let’s break down what recovery means and what happens during that time.

To begin with, recovery is not the same for every athlete. Someone training for a 5K will have a shorter recovery times than someone training for an Ironman. Every training session an athlete has results in the breaking down of muscle fibers. It is during recovery that these small muscle tears repair themselves and grow bigger and stronger. In addition, there are various types of recovery. Active
recovery could be a 15-20 minute walk in the afternoon after your long run on Sunday morning. Long term recovery is built into your workout plan. For example, you might do a build for 4 weeks during
Ironman training but then do a recovery week where your training load is significantly less. Passive recovery are days where you literally do nothing except maybe take a nap on the couch while golf is playing in the background.

Keep in mind that recovery is not just about sleeping. An example: you go for a tempo run for about 3-4 miles. You feel good, had a great workout. At the end of the workout, you should take some time to
stretch and ease your body into the “rest and digest” mode or your parasympathetic systems. Doing some long, easy stretches and
possibly lying in shivasana (or corpse pose, literally the best yoga pose ever) for 5 minutes will give your body the cues it needs to start to calm down.

An often overlooked aspect of recovery are your nutritional needs. Keep in mind that when you increase your training load, your nutritional needs also increase. Consuming the right foods after workouts helps speed the recovery process. Downing a dozen cookies and a glass of milk might seem like a good idea if you feel you are crashing after a long run or ride, but there are better options. Maybe step away from the Chips Ahoy and try some greek yogurt with granola and berries or
throw on some chocolate chips for that cookie fix. Or use some BASE greens and make yourself a smoothie!

It is also imperative that you listen to your body. Not the “oh I don’t feel like running today” voice in your head that will derail you from your goals. Watch for signs of over training and needing an actual rest day. Some of the those sign are: feelings of fatigue beyond normal tiredness, lack of motivation or desire for your chosen sport, decrease in performance, elevated heart rate during the night, general aches and pains. When these symptoms hit, it’s time to take a rest day.

Remember that rest makes you stronger. It will help you maximize your fitness and athletic goals. It rejuvenates your cardiovascular and muscular systems to take on more load. It also prevents burnout. So take that nap. Try implementing a yin yoga class into your training weeks. Or maybe even take a leisurely bike ride with your kids or spouse. Your body, and your training, will thank you.

Dealing With Race Disappointment by Lesley Smith




Every person who lines up for a race has had goals in mind throughout the journey to that start line. Whether you are Jan Frodeno and want to win Kona, or you want to check completing a triathlon race off the bucket list, these goals keep you driven you along the way.


Though, there are a multitude of variables in the sport, and sometimes things go wrong. There will be times when goals are not met, and you are left with an overwhelming feeling of disappointment after the race is over.


Following are three rules-of-thumb that have helped me get over the hurdle of disappointment when it comes to triathlon racing.



1) Analyze the experience objectively.

When you have put significant time and effort into an endeavor and it goes poorly, it is only human to combat an array of negative emotions. We all know it is is better to feel and process emotions versus fighting to block them out.


Though, once you are ready to let go of feeling this way, write down of what you could have done better in an honest manner. In other words, what controllable factors would an outside, objective observer say you could work on for future races? Nutrition, pacing, equipment prep and apparel choice are common examples of such factors.


Even if Murphy’s Law swooped in and you were sidelined by something TOTALLY out of your control - say, a mid-race cancellation due to inclement weather -  you most likely still have some productive post race thoughts to keep in mind for the future.


2) Look ahead.

Make future race plans with an aim to improve upon the controllable factors that affected race day. If you are not quite ready to pull the trigger on a triathlon, even committing to a short road race or local supported group ride can help get you back to a positive frame of mind when it comes to being active.


Remember that the preparation for the past race was not in vain, as the physical benefits will contribute to future training and racing. Even if you take a break from the sport all together, when you return to regular training your neuromuscular system will retain patterns of muscle activity which you have done regularly over an extended period of time. The longer you have been training consistently, the easier it will be to start up when you have had time off. Cue the commonly known term: “muscle memory”.



3) Remember the positives from the overall journey.

Triathlon is rarely a black or white sort of thing. Ask yourself: what did I gain from the training and preparation for this race?


Maybe you were more conscious of what you were putting in your body so that you would feel good during your workouts.  Maybe you upped your work ethic, commitment and time management skills to a new level in order to get those long rides and runs in. Maybe you fine tuned your focus and mental toughness like never before to get through monotonous swim intervals. Maybe you are now able to apply ALL of these qualities to other areas of your life. Choose to focus on these aspects both when looking back on the experience and as you move forward.



Happy racing!




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