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.

~*Learning From Mistakes by Lauren Brandon*~

We all make mistakes in training and racing, but we can certainly learn from them. Maybe you did too much in training and you ended up getting injured. Or perhaps you made a nutrition mistake during your race and ended up running low on fuel by the end of your day. These are all common mistakes that most of us experience at some point, but it’s how we learn and change in the future that can make these opportunities for growth and development.


The Ironman World Championship is one of the most important days of competition in the world of triathlon. Over 2500 people race and I am sure a lot of mistakes are made. I unfortunately made some mistakes that negatively impacted my day and I will definitely never do these again. First of all, when I built my bike post travel, I put my seat too high. All week long I thought that my hip flexor and hamstring were bothering me because of the car seat angle of my rental car, but when my husband examined my bike after the race, I had put my seat too high. A few mm might not seem like a lot, but over 5 hours of riding hard it can not make things feel great. Mistake number one that I will not make again.


Mistake number two was I missed my T1 bag. Upon exiting the water, I ran right past my T1 bag and had absolutely no idea where it was. Nothing like running around like a chicken with its head cut off on camera. Ha! While this ended up not impacting my race too much, it could have made a huge difference. Not ideal and I will always be triple checking where my transition bags are!

It would have been easy to get upset or pissed off, but we all make mistakes. I have learned a couple of important lessons from this past Ironman and will always be trying to improve.

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