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.



By: Lauren Brandon 

Have you ever had a canceled or delayed flight that caused you to get to your hotel race week later than planned? Or have you ever dropped your race nutrition during your Ironman and didn’t have a back up plan? There are so many things that can go wrong during race week and while we don’t want to think about these instances, it is important to know what you need to do in case they happen to you.


At my last Ironman, they cut the swim in half 15 minutes before the race start. And then at 30k into my 180k bike ride, the screw to my water bottle came loose and I had to hold it on with my knees every time I hit a bump before it  completely fell off half way through the race. Having these things happen weren’t ideal, but when you prepare for these scenarios in advance, you are able to stay calm and continue to execute your race as best as possible.


Travel Issues: A lot of travel issues are out of your control, so try not to get too stressed about them. If your flight is delayed or cancelled, just make sure you continue to move your body, fuel properly, and rest. You can do a jog and mobility work in the airport or even pay to use the gym at a nearby hotel.


Lost Bags: Always travel with your swim and run stuff in your backpack/carry on bag. You can get by for a couple of days without your bike, but you want to make sure you are still getting in some training before your race.


Race Prep: Try to have a schedule of what needs to get done each day leading into your race, especially for a full Ironman. There are a ton of things that need to get done, such as getting your gear bags and special needs bags ready, so it’s best to do everything as early as you can.


Race Day: I am sure we have all had something go wrong on race day such as a bike mechanical, flat tire, lost nutrition, stomach issues, and many other things. Before your race, make sure to have a plan for as many of these things as possible. Example: Put extra nutrition or bottle in your special needs bag in case you lose them during the first part of the bike (just because they are in there doesn’t mean you have to take them). Put Tums or Imodium in your T2 bag or special needs bag in case you have some stomach issues. Make sure you have the proper equipment to change your tire (valve extender, CO2, etc) and anything else that you may need that day.


Remember that the best way to control your race is to have a plan, but be flexible when things go wrong, and try to stay calm :) 

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