Race Season Recovery

After 9 months of training, my big race is finally complete. It’s a long season from January through September and I need time to recover before I can even think about what comes next.

My first priority for recovery is always sleep.  That’s when the body repairs itself.  I need about 9 hours per night and its rare that I sleep less.  Food and water are critical, too.  After a hard season of racing, you might think that I and others cut loose and eat all kinds of junk food, etc.  I do that for about 2-3 days but then I resume my fairly routine eating habits because at 55 I need to make sure that what I eat serves my body well.  Lots of plants, high quality protein and plenty of carbohydrates (whole and enriched). 

External methods can also help me recover.  I’m a big fan of hot water, saunas, compression gear and occasionally ice packs or baths.  Regular massage is a treat that sometimes reduces my muscle soreness but can also cause more it if it’s too deep into the muscles. 

I think the most important recovery tool an athlete has is time away from structured training.  After every season, I take about 4-6 weeks to simply do what ever I want.  After that, I resume my off season training schedule which usually involves longer, slower workouts and strength training mixed with flexibility and mobility work.  By early January, I find that I’m ready to go again.