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.

Drink Up For Winter Hydration - By Lori Pine

Dehydration, the loss of body water, is not a summer problem. We can become dehydrated even as the thermometer drops. When the weather is cold, people don’t drink as much because they don’t feel thirsty.

As the air becomes cooler during the Fall and Winter months, many, including athletes, fail to stay aware of the water loss that still occurs despite the cool air, rain, and snow. Outdoor athletes will wear more clothing to keep warm, and this adds to increased fluid loss. Our bodies work harder under the extra weight of extra clothing. Even the suits many athletes wear retain body heat create sweat and fluid loss before ever feeling thirsty because sweat evaporates quickly in cold, dry air.

Why do we need to drink water? It is necessary for life! Babies’ bodies are approximately 78% water, toddlers 65%, men 60%, and women 55%. Blood is mostly water, and your muscles, lungs, and brain all contain a large amount of water. Water provides the means for nutrients to travel to all your organs, transports oxygen to your cells, removes waste, and protects your joints and organs. If there is not enough fluid left in your system after digestion, the shortage of fluid for your muscles will lead to muscle aches, pains, and cramping.


Your body sweats to get rid of excess heat, and as the sweat evaporates you cool off. Exercise will increase your core body temperature and fluids help keep your temperature from reaching dangerous levels. When we lose body water, our heart also has to work harder.
If you wait to drink until you feel thirsty, you are already a quart low, which for an athlete may mean up to a 15% decline in maximal performance capacity. Stay at 95-100% hydration all of the time.

To prevent dehydration, drink a glass of water each hour. An easy way to accomplish drinking half of your weight in ounces of water each day is to drink an 8 or a 10-ounce glass each hour on the hour. Drink until your urine is clear to pale yellow.

Though the amount of water you need may depend on your age, gender, level of physical activity, altitude and climate, an easy method with which experts agree upon is that the amount of water one needs for health and ideal weight is half of one’s weight in ounces of water each day.

Body weight (in pounds) / 2 = Daily Fluid Needs in Ounces

Hydrate before you exercise. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that athletes drink 16-ounces of non-carbonated and non-caffeinated fluids prior to exercise. Sipping on a sports drink containing sodium for the last hour prior to the event will help increase absorption of the water into your cells, and also prevent muscle cramps. In extreme cold, try hot chocolate to warm up your core.

Don’t neglect electrolytes when training or racing longer than an hour. You will need electrolyte replacement in addition to fluid replacement. The five most important electrolytes to consider include sodium, chloride, potassium, magnesium, and calcium.

Hydration within 45 minutes of endurance training or an event is an essential to aid recovery. Fluids along with protein and carbohydrates soon after an endurance event will help repair and rebuild damaged tissue. A sports recovery drink with carbohydrates and electrolytes is recommended. Whole, nonfat or chocolate milk is also an excellent recovery drink and source of hydration because it is composed of 87% water and 13% solids. Milk is an excellent source of calcium, protein, carbohydrates and Vitamin D, contains the right percentage of potassium and sodium, and helps maintain ideal electrolyte balances.

As you put on your skis, go for a cold weather run or hike, or attend your daily water aerobics class, be aware and maintain proper hydration for better performance and recovery. Grab your water or sports drink even if you don’t feel thirsty, and DRINK UP!

About the Author:
Lori Pine is the Programs Director at In Motion Fitness in Chico, California where she supervises the aquatics and fitness departments, directs youth and safety programs, and trains clients of all ages. She received her M.A. at California State University, Chico. Lori is an A.C.E. Personal Trainer, APEX Nutritional Counselor, an AEA member, and visioning board member for ICAA. She holds specialty certificates in Nordic Walking, Youth Fitness, BOSU, Body Bar, STRONG, GRAVITY, Drums Alive, Gliding, and Kettlebell. She has 25+ years of teaching, sports conditioning, and recreation and leisure activity experience in schools, the community, camps, and the fitness industry. Lori has presented lectures / demos on balance training, components of fitness, getting started in an exercise program, and exercise for cancer patients. She produces events among them the Body And Mind conference “B.A.M.”, and raises funds annually for the American Cancer Society. She can be reached at

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