Observations on recovery from racing
Who does NOT want to achieve the best possible result from their races?
A rhetorical question I guess!
It always fascinates me listening and watching our bodies recover from endurance events. There seems to be distinct differences in the-shall we say- abilities of athletes to recuperate from races. Usually elite athletes recover the quickest from these long and demanding exertions.
Some athletes certainly have remarkable powers to recover and perform soon after big races. Two athletes who spring to mind in this regard are Raynard Tissink and the late great Benny Vansteelant.
I count myself very fortunate to have trained with both athletes.
Somehow, both of them could produce top class performances within a very short space of time. Benny always said it was due to conditioning.
While I feel he was correct to some extent, I think certain genetic disposition also plays a role. Benny could race two Powerman duathlons in consecutive weekends and win them comfortably. Raynard did similar feats last year when he raced two Ironman races within 3 weeks and managed to win the second race and get a top finish in the other race. We cannot all follow their examples though and expect to keep recording top results. There is an old proverb about wanting all the cookies in the cookie jar. (now a Hip-Hop song too: can’t keep my hand, my hand, from the cookie jar!)
If you eat all the cookies close together there is indeed a chance you may feel ill. Just ask any kid at a party with a mouthful of cake and sweets in his stomach at the same time!
That’s my first point about racing and recovery.
Watch your immune system carefully after endurance races!
Too many too close together does ask a fair amount of your immune system.
In the USA, some research shows the five weeks after an Ironman is when athletes often develop URTI (Not Russian! It’s Upper Respiratory Tract Infections)
To address this potential Slowdown of Activity, keep your Vitamin C levels high for at least a week after a long endurance event.
How much, you ask?
The amount depends on what you have been currently taking and the product you use.
Other things to include are Vitamin B, Selenium, Glutamine and N Acetyl Cysteine.
A loan system
I often use the example of loaning money from the bank as akin to racing endurance events close together and not taking enough rest in between and after.
If you keep borrowing from the bank, there comes a day when the bank says: Payback time. I feel our bodies work similarly. If you keeping “drawing from your savings” (or your training foundation) then soon you may receive that slip from the bank that reads Insufficient Funds!
Furthermore, our bodies just begin to slow down after a pile of races.
Even while you may stay healthy, if you do not rest adequately between events, you may end up with a case of the Plods. Many of us experience a feeling of heavy legs not responding to training.
It is at those times, we need to listen carefully and back off on the volume and give your body permission to come back to you.
Allow your body to rebuild after an event and you will reap the benefits. This may mean complete rest for a day or so or simply a reduction in your usual volume until you can feel your legs being lighter and responsive.
Racing to our fullest potential builds self confidence. Racing on tired legs seldom shows too much of your ability and simply tells us you’re tired.
Hope that helps your thinking!
Feel free to mail me if you have questions.